‘No-deal’ Brexit puts rare giraffes at risk too

An Okapi is pictured in its enclosure at Antwerp's zoo, Belgium, March 28, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 30 March 2019
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‘No-deal’ Brexit puts rare giraffes at risk too

  • Britain is a big player, with around 40 member zoos, including Chester, one of the largest in Europe

ANTWERP, Belgium: Amid all the hand-wringing from businessmen and politicians about potential risks from a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, zookeepers are worried too — especially for a group of rare forest giraffes.
Seventy-three “okapis” — an endangered species from the Democratic Republic of Congo with a brown body and zebra-like striped legs — live in zoos in the European Union where free movement rules underpin an inter-country breeding project.
So if Britain, which has 15 of them, exits the bloc without a transition deal, it would probably be cut out of the project, according to Sander Hofman, general curator of Antwerp Zoo in Belgium, who coordinates okapi relocation for reproduction.
“Brexit is very bad news for conservation breeding,” he told Reuters at the zoo, as elephants munched behind him.
“Fifteen out of my 73 (okapis) are in the UK. You can imagine that if I need to remove these 15, it would be a big blow for my population but it would be even worse for the UK colleagues,” he said.
In the EU, around 350 zoos are part of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), which allows transport of animals throughout the bloc for breeding purposes.
Britain is a big player, with around 40 member zoos, including Chester, one of the largest in Europe.
But EAZA is advising zoos to move animals that need to be shipped to or from Britain as fast as possible in case of a no-deal Brexit that would require a laborious re-writing of rules to rejoin the breeding program.
Prime Minister Theresa May was putting a stripped-down version of her Brexit deal to parliament on Friday in an attempt to break the impasse with uncertainty still over how, when of even if Britain will ever leave.
The rare forest giraffes in Britain are not the only animal affected, said Hofman, citing elephants.
“It’s very difficult to plan an elephant transport. You can imagine how difficult it will be if you don’t even know what paperwork you have to deal with, or what port you have to go through,” he said. “I actually have no clue.”


Bum move: Kardashian ‘kimono’ shapewear sparks Japan debate

Updated 26 June 2019
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Bum move: Kardashian ‘kimono’ shapewear sparks Japan debate

  • The pop culture icon unveiled the new ‘Kimono’ line on Twitter
  • But the announcement garnered mixed reaction both at home and in Japan

TOKYO: American television star Kim Kardashian has sparked debate in Japan by naming her new line of shapewear “Kimono,” prompting some to accuse her of disrespecting the traditional outfit.
The pop culture icon unveiled the new “Kimono” line on Twitter, revealing she had been working for a year on the underwear to offer “solutions for women that actually work.”
But the announcement garnered mixed reaction both at home and in Japan, with some offering their criticism on Twitter using the hashtag #KimOhNo.
“She’s been to Japan many times. I’m shocked. She has no respect,” tweeted one user in Japanese.
“I like Kim Kardashian, but please pick a name other than kimono if it’s underwear,” wrote another.
“The Japanese government should file a protest against Kardashian,” wrote a third.
Kimono literally means “something to wear,” while Kardashian’s use of it appeared to be a play on her first name. The new line’s website offered no explanation, and Kardashian has yet to respond to her online detractors.
And not everyone was opposed to the name, with some users arguing it could offer a chance to promote a traditional outfit that is declining in popularity even in Japan.
Once a standard of the Japanese wardrobe, the kimono is now often reserved for special occasions, such as weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies, and is mostly worn by women.
And while the elaborate outfits might appear to have little in common with the snug garb being offered by Kardashian, kimonos are not only often hugely expensive but known for being hard to wear.
Women frequently hire experts to dress them in kimono because the outfit requires seemingly endless nipping, tucking and strapping.