Joburg Zoo’s plans for new elephant angers NSPCA

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 29 November 2018

The Johannesburg Zoo may acquire another elephant to replace the late bull, Kinkel, but the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) has expressed its displeasure at the idea of bringing another pachyderm into a captive zoo environment.

Image: Ondela Mlandu

Following the death of Kinkel, a 35 year-old male elephant, at the Johannesburg Zoo in September, the zoo has apparently made the decision to try to acquire another elephant to keep Lammie, a 39 year-old female and the zoo’s only elephant left, company.

The NSPCA doesn’t welcome this new development and is in fact ‘appalled’ according to a Facebook post it shared in response to this development. According to the post, the decision was approved by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, but the NSPCA believes that the metro and zoo don’t truly uphold the five freedoms of animal welfare.

Amid concerns about the zoo’s captive environment, it appears the animal welfare organisation disagrees with the ‘solution’ of replacing the late Kinkel as companion to the surviving cow.

There was public outcry for the release of the mourning cow following Kinkel’s death as she appeared to be struggling. The NSPCA doesn’t believe the zoo is fit to accommodate Lammie, and vowed to fight for her wellbeing and that of other prospective ellie residents, wishing for her to be moved to an ‘appropriate and accredited sanctuary’.

In the Facebook post, the NSPCA states that it had expressed its grievances with Joburg mayor, Herman Mashaba, as it believes now is a critical time to commit to animal welfare.

In an article in Times Live, however, a City Parks and Johannesburg Zoo spokesperson is said to have explained that that the two institutions are still assessing the surviving female elephant, and establishing whether she needs a companion. The process isn’t simple or quick either. The zoo can’t just displace any elephant in the wild and must follow ethical guidelines established by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). The article also reveals that the Joburg zoo will have to be placed on a waiting list before any new ellies are introduced to its facilities.

Also read: India’s first hospital for ellies opens


Image: Ondela Mlandu

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