Following calls from various community groups to release Lammie the elephant from the Joburg Zoo, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo says they have no intention of moving Lammie out of the zoo.
The 39-year-old elephant suffered the loss of her companion Kinkel in September this year, sparking calls from the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), Ban Animal Trading, EMS Foundation, Africa’s Humane Society and Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions South Africa (BDA SA) to release Lammie from captivity and place her in a sanctuary.
The general manager at the Joburg Zoo, Tshepang Makganye said, “Over and above the current interventions, we are also getting expert advice and assistance within the field on how best we can properly care for Lammie within an ex situ (off sight conservation) environment.
“This is to ensure that Joburg City Parks and Zoo can achieve its goal of providing the highest standard of husbandry and welfare that is provided to the entire species in the collection including Lammie and Kinkel, who died recently,” said Makganye.
Makganye said that the majority of the population is deprived of access to parks and thus deprived of knowledge about the valuable assets that elephants and rhinos are to the country.
“Part of saving the elephant population from being killed is educating the less privileged to understand our natural heritage. This is the role that zoos play in the space of education more than the conservation,” he said.
Makganye said that while the sentiments expressed by the public are commendable, Joburg Zoo does not think that it would be in Lammie’s best interests to move her as she was born at the zoo and has lived her whole life in this environment.
“Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo management has no intention of moving Lammie from the zoo, however, we want to thank you for considering the health of our elephant. Management will communicate their decision in due course as to what the management plan would be going forward.”