The Kabul Zoo has had it’s share of tough times throughout the years. The zoo was smack dab in the middle of Afghanistan’s civil war from 1992 to 1994, and suffered repeated predation from fighters, and collateral damage from less discriminate fire. Mujahadeen shot and ate deer and rabbits, killed the zoo’s elephant, (a female given as a gift by the Indian President Sri Giri) shot and wounded a bear, and blinded a lion named Marjan. (One of the soldiers climbed into the Marjan’s cage on a dare and the lion killed him. The soldier’s brother returned the next day and tossed a grenade into the cage, blinding the beast. Marjan got the last laugh though, as the soldier’s brother was reportedly (and unconfirmedly) killed in combat later that week, and Marjan died of old age in 2002.)
Stephen Grey of the London Times reported that the zoo was a favorite destination of the Taliban, as they enjoyed throwing snowballs at the animals. Zoo keepers did not dare to try and stop the Taliban soldiers from whatever cruelty they desired to inflict, especially after 60 year old Akbar (no last name given) was dragged out of his hut in the middle of the night and murdered. (Kind of a shame they didn’t just throw snowballs at him.)
The zoo has recently been in the news again after the swine flu scare. Since pork is illegal in Afghanistan, (god tolerateth not of the Denny’s Grand Slam with extra bacon) so, by extension, are pigs. The single exception to this law was made by the Afghani “government” for the Kabul Zoo, so that all visitors could see what they were missing out on for breakfast. The Chinese government spared exactly one baby pig from their sweet and sour slaughterhouses as a gift to the zoo.
Unfortunately for the “pig with no name,” Afghani people are just as stupid as people anywhere else, and they became fearful that the swine flu might have been transmitted… by radio maybe?… to their pig, and therefore he might be a vector for contagion. (All anyone really needed to do was talk to the pig to discover that he snorts in Chinese, and not Spanish. Duh.) In order to quell the fearful idiots populace the zoo had a small room built as a quarantine for the pig, and there he sits today, not giving anyone the swine flu. Not because he lives in a little room all by himself, but because he doesn’t have it.
Still, it’s better than being pork fried rice.