Kinkel photographed at the Johannesburg Zoo, in South Africa by Bernelle Visser

Johannesburg Zoo Official Media Release 5th of September 2018

Joburg Zoo Saddened by the Death of Kinkel the Elephant

“Kinkel has been suffering from colic on and off for almost 10 years. Last year, the colic attacks became more frequent with the worst episode being about 3 attacks in a week. The last colic attack was sometime in June this year, and since then he hadn’t fully recovered. Kinkel shared an enclosure with a female elephant, Lammie, who turned 39 in August this year”.

Joburg Zoo Mourns the Loss of Kinkel the Elephant

6th September 2018

“A male elephant popular among visitors died unexpectedly after a short bout of illness, he was 35 years old” reported the Killarney Gazette. MMC for Community Development Nonhlanhla Sifumba said: “Staff worked late on Monday night and Kinkel was supervised throughout the night by his keeper Alice Masombuko, but yesterday morning sadly lost his battle.” Kinkel was born in the wild in 1983 and was easily recognisable because of the hole in his trunk inflicted by a poacher’s snare.”

Elephant at Johannesburg Zoo Dies

6th September 2018

“Kinkel, a boisterous and social male elephant, has died at the Johannesburg Zoo, he was 35 years old. The management said that the cause of death is still unknown. Kinkel was born in the wild and damaged his trunk in a poacher’s snare before he was taken to the zoo.

The National Council of SPCAs expressed its concern about any elephant being kept in captivity. “We are perplexed that there are still elephants being kept in zoos. Surely, as a country that has beautiful national parks where elephants and other wild animals get to live their lives out naturally, we would have moved away from keeping elephants in captivity,” said national inspector Martie Rossouw, manger of the organisation’s wildlife protection unit. She added: “We can only hope that there will be victory for all elephants in zoos as a result of this tragedy; that morality will prevail and that elephants will be phased out of zoos and captive facilities in South Africa.””

Sad Day for Joburg Zoo as Kinkel the Elephant Dies

6th September 2018

“Kinkel was relocated to the Johannesburg Zoo from a farm in Botswana more than ten years ago after he was injured in a snare leaving him with a hole in his trunk and could not live in the wild any longer.

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo spokesperson, Louis Gordon, says Kinkel’s care-takers including his 39 year old mate Lammie are very distraught by his death. Gordon says Kinkel’s death is a huge loss for the Joburg Zoo. Gordon says the zoo will consider whether they can replace Kinkel as there are a number of permits and conditions that are required.”

Joburg Zoo Mulls Plans to Replace Kinkel the Elephant

6th September 2018

“The Johannesburg Zoo says that it will consider whether to replace a 35 year old male elephant that died at the park. Kinkel who was born in the wild in 1983 died at the zoo on Tuesday after suffering from colic for many years.

“At this stage, the plan is to make sure that Lammie is looked after well and to investigate whether they can replace Kinkel and there are all kinds of permits and conditions that they have to apply for so they still have to go through a process to see what is possible for the future, so they’re considering their management plans around the elephant.””

Free Captive-Born Lammie the Elephant Now: Experts Plea to Joburg Zoo

18th September 2018

“The EMS Foundation has offered to find a suitable sanctuary or reserve for Lammie and to cover all the costs of her relocation.

The National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it is opposed to keeping elephants in captivity citing their 2015 report which highlighted the welfare status of elephants in captivity. This scientific report revealed that nearly all captive elephants suffer welfare deficiencies.

“The Zoo’s current plans include monitoring Lammie behaviour, providing enrichment items for her if she is coping with the situation after our interventions, another cow will be introduced.” said Mr Piet Male of Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo Animal Welfare and Management.

However, visitors to the Zoo report that no additional enrichment items have yet been provided two weeks after Kinkel’s death. The only enrichment items evident are a very large tyre as well as a few smaller tyres suspended from a pole.”

This plan would go against the growing international move away from keeping elephants in captivity which has led to many major zoos worldwide to shut down their elephant displays.

In addition, South Africa’s Elephant Norms and Standards prohibit the capture of elephants in the wild for permanent captivity. According to Dr Gay Bradshaw, a trans-species psychologist who researches the effects of violence on elephants and other animals, the death of an individual has a large impact on the family and within the community. Furthermore, repeated losses in the absence of the traditional healing structures of the elephant family and culture cause sustained psychological trauma.

“In order for Lammie to thrive emotionally and physically she needs to be placed in a semi-wild facility that does not support human-elephant interactions and where she can express natural behaviours. The zoo should be making immediate plans to unite Lammie with other female elephants of differing ages to mimic a herd and the critical family structure that is essential to an elephant’s social well-being and learning experience.” said Dr Audrey Delsink.

“Although each herd/group of elephants or an individual elephant requires an assessment prior to embarking on a reintegration program to ensure the correct processes are achieved, reintegrating elephants from captivity to a wild situation is successful if the various stages of reintegration are followed correctly.” said Brett Mitchell.

“City Parks managing director Bryne Maduka stated that the final decision on Lammie’s future will be taken by the Johannesburg City Council after reviewing recommendations from the welfare organisations as well as the zoo.””

Protests To Free Johannesburg’s Grieving Elephant

5th November 2018

“South Africa is the last place where an elephant in captivity can be justified, “Michele Pickover, managing director of the EMS Foundation, said. The conservation group is offering to fully fund a lengthy integration process. “The money is there to pay for Lammie to be carefully reintroduced to the wild and there is a reserve that had good success stories, so there is no justification for the zoo to stand in the way of that. This elephant has the chance to have 20 years ahead of her.”

Justifying his decision that Lammie should live out her days in the moated enclosure, Tshepang Makganye, the zoo’s executive manager, said the animal was playing a role in “educating the less privileged to understand our natural heritage”.

Additional “enrichment items” to supplement the large tyres that occasionally distract Lammie were planned, he said, doubting that a lifetime in captivity made her a good candidate for “re-wilding”.

Michele Pickover rejected the argument that seeing a solitary elephant in captivity held any educational value or that the zoo, in one of the city’s most affluent suburbs, was an affordable option for the poor. “A great natural history programme does a better job of telling you about the way elephants live than staring at a lonely miserable one in an enclosure,” she said.

Joburg Zoo’s Plans for New Elephant Angers NSPCA

29th November 2019

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

Following the death of Kinkel, in September, the zoo has apparently made the decision to try and 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 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. The NSPCA doesn’t believe the zoo is fit to accommodate Lammie.”

“The process to involves following ethical guidelines established by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Zoo would need to be placed on a waiting list before any new elephants are introduced.”

Zoo Elephant Loses Her Entire Family

12th December 2018

“While Lammie has only known life at the Johannesburg Zoo, her parents Jumbo and Dolly, live in the wild until they were captured and brought to the Zoo in the 1970’s.

They had four babies together, including Lammie and her two younger brothers, Umfaan and Johnti as well as a stillborn calf. In 1990 Umfaan was sold to a facility in Johannesburg when he was 6 years old and Johnti was sold aged 18 months to the Peaugres Zoo in France. Jumbo passed away following an infection and Dolly was euthanised after Lammie accidentally fell on her during medical procedure.”