THE SAD STORY OF LAMMIE THE SOLITARY ELEPHANT AT THE JOHANNESBURG ZOO – FACTSHEET
“We need to ask: What is the conservation value to the species of the individuals confined in zoos, and are the conditions under which they’re held conducive to their physical and psychological well-being?
Zoos are a tangible link to a colonial past and reminders of the conquest of distant lands.
Thousands of healthy zoo animals are ‘zoonthanized’ each year because of over-breeding.
A yardstick could be a ‘first do no harm’ principle, ensuring that compassion and individual welfare are at the heart of zoo construction and animal keeping.
A ‘do no harm’ principle, however, puts elephants beyond the capacity of zoos, something that zoo management is increasingly acknowledging.
Since 2000, a total of 37 zoos in Europe have closed their elephant exhibits, including London’s Regent’s Park, because they could not provide “appropriate facilities for such large, far-roaming, intelligent animals.”
Given new insights into how animals may suffer from anxiety and depression when they’re removed from nature, should they be held in captivity?”
NSPCA QUITS JOBURG ETHICS COMMITTEE IN PROTEST OVER LAMMIE THE ELEPHANT
24th January 2019
“The NSPCA addressed a letter of demand to the zoo management and Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, saying that, if they move forward with obtaining another elephant “the NSPCA would launch an application in the High Court to interdict such action.”
Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo public relations manager Jenny Moodley said the zoo would not entertain discussions over the unfounded claims by the NSPCA and that no decision had been made over whether another elephant would be brought in or not.
However, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, of which the Johannesburg Zoo is a member, contradicts Moodley’s claims. According to WAZA CEO, Doug Cress, the zoo is in fact actively looking to find a second elephant to join Lammie.
The National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has quit the Johannesburg Zoo’s Ethics Committee after being excluded from decisions regarding Lammie the Elephant. “We were not included in either decisions or discussions on this critical, controversial issue that has both welfare and ethical implications.””
NSPCA SPEAKS OUT ON LONELY ELEPHANT LAMMIE
24th January 2019
“If you think of elephants in their natural habitat, they are very large, they are highly social, and they have sophisticated communication. It is not ideal for Lammie’s health to stay alone in a small enclosure.”
JOBURG ZOO RESPONDS TO THE NSPCA’S LEGAL ACTION
“The NSPCA said they had issued a legal communication to the Zoo stating that if they were to move forward with obtaining another another elephant, they would launch an application to the high court to interdict this action. The spokesperson for the Johannesburg zoo, Jenny Moodley stated that the acquisition of a new elephant would be subject to the zoo finalising their plan to increase the size of the elephant enclosure to include a swimming dam with mud-wallowing areas.
While there is no definite time frame for the commencement of this process, the Zoo assures the public that they will remain compliant with all prescripts set out by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Moodley also stated that the zoo would only consider elephants born in captivity as companions for Lammie.
The NSPCA resigned from the Johannesburg Zoo Animal Ethics and Scientific Committee, which serves to monitor and promote the ethical treatment of animals at the zoo, claiming that the Joburg Zoo had not been open with them.
Another spokesperson for the Zoo, Letta Madlala said: “The NSPCA has been a member of this committee until recently when they tendered their resignation, and this forum would been the appropriate channel for them to make a constructive contribution towards the Zoo’s operation, in particular to the matter regarding the remaining elephant, the JCPZ the resignation was seen as a mere misunderstanding and the issues raised might have been resolved if they were discussed beforehand.””
JOBURG ZOO ECSTATIC AFTER THE ARRIVAL OF THEIR “TWO TONS OF FUN”
13th June 2019
“The journey took 15 hours after the two elephants departed from the Eastern Cape on the 12th June 2019.
Spokesperson for Joburg City Parks and Zoo Jenny Moodley said “We have followed the correct procedures and we are fully compliant with the Zoo Elephant Management Plan and in line with best practice standards stipulated by World Association of Zoo and Aquariums.”
A statement released by Joburg City Parks and Zoo said the Joburg Zoo could only acquire captive bred elephants and in line with code of ethics of World Association of Zoos and Aquaria, the Joburg Zoo ensured that the new elephants are not wild elephants.
The Zoo said they went through a thorough and long process to acquire the permits for the two elephants. MMC for Community Development, Councillor Nonhlanhla Sifumba said: “This is not about gate-takings but about deepening our understanding of the importance of the ecology found on our planet and to ensure that every child gets to see and hear the trumpeting of the African elephant in Africa.””
OUTCRY OVER JOBURG ZOO’S IMPRISONMENT OF TWO NEW ELEPHANTS
14th June 2019
“Ramadiba 22, a mature male and Mopane 19 a female arrived at the zoo with the veterinary doctor and keeper on Thursday. One hectare is required for four elephants and we currently have 1.5 hectares but we have plans to enlarge that enclosure” said City Parks and Johannesburg Zoo spokesperson Jenny Moodley.
The NSPCA however said it was devastated that the Johannesburg Zoo has brought in another two elephants into a captive environment that is detrimental to any elephant’s well-being. Spokesperson Meg Wilson said that the NSPCA had been kept out of the loop completely and that the NSPCA had found out about the addition of the elephants via the media.
According to Wilson the zoo does not have appropriate facilities to keep three elephants. “That environment is not conducive to good welfare for elephants. In a natural habitat these elephants would walk hundreds of kilometres per day. They should not be confined to such a small area with very little environmental enrichment. Wilson asserted that they already had behavioural problems with Lammie”.
Moodley doesn’t agree. “In this age of endless poaching, diminishing foraging areas and threats of climate change, zoos have become critical conduits for environmental education and for conservation. No sanctuary has a veterinary hospital on site as we have. We have a dedicated vet, we have animal attendants, curators and keepers.”
“We implore the public not to support captive wildlife facilities” Wilson said.””
JOBURG ZOO INSISTS ALL PROCESSES WERE FOLLOWED TO OBTAIN TWO NEW ELEPHANTS
22nd June 2019
“The current elephant enclosure is being made larger. The rhino enclosure, which is next to the elephant enclosure, is being moved and the elephant enclosure will include the rhino enclosure.”
JOBURG ZOO SQUANDERS R1.25 MILLION ON NEW ELEPHANTS
1st July 2019
“The Zoo paid almost R1 million more than the market rate for its two new elephants from the Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve. “Given the urgent issues facing the City surely this kind of problematic and excessive expenditure is irregular and would be better spent on service delivery”said Animal rights group Ban Animal Trading.”
SOUTH AFRICA WILDLIFE: JOHANNESBURG ZOO ACQUIRES 2 ELEPHANTS AMID ACTIVIST OUTCRY
9th July 2019
“It will take a few weeks before the new elephants are trained and completely familiarised with their new home, interactions with their new friend Lammie is limited.
Candice Ward Enrichment Officer for the Johannesburg Zoo said: “They’ve been housed in a separate area from Lammie for now. They’ve had introductions over the boma fence, they are able to smell one another touch one another. But for now they are not allowed full contact.
Another thing is the boundary moat that we have here, we want to make sure that when they are introduced that there going to be no pushing and shoving. As we have, you know, an incident where an elephant ends up in a moat.””
VARIOUS ORGANISATIONS EXPRESS THEIR ANGER OVER JOBURG ZOO’S ACQUISITION OF TWO ADDITIONAL ELEPHANTS
“Humane Society International, Ban Animal Trading, the EMS Foundation and the Elephant Reintegration Trust have expressed their disgust at the acquisition of two new elephants at the Johannesburg Zoo.
Such was their haste to acquire the elephants, they have done so without completing any of the expansion or renovation work that they promised and ignored both public opinion and the pleas of some of the world’s most eminent elephant experts and conservationists.”
TWIN CELEBRATIONS AT Joburg Zoo
12th August 2019
“Johannesburg Zoo observed World Elephant Day by having the public visit the Zoo for free on the 12th August as well as celebrating Lammie who was born at the Zoo as she turns 40.”
VIRAL VIDEO SHOW TRAUMATISED ELEPHANTS AT Joburg Zoo
13th August 2019
“Lammie’s 40th birthday celebrations and World Elephant Day at Johannesburg Zoo on Tuesday were marred by scenes of highly stressed elephants.
In a viral video shared online, Lammie is seen running out of her dark quarters, clearly confused and traumatised. Two other other elephants behind bars also react in alarm, much to the misguided weight of the screaming onlookers.
On World Elephant Day, Mopane was made to do tricks to entertain the crowds of visitors bussed in for the occasion. Photos show her having to lie down, then roll over in front of the media. She was also made to stand on her knees several times.
The Elephants behaviour indicates they were under immense stress. Heavy temporary streaming, running with head and tail up and foot-swinging are typical signs of distress and separation anxiety in elephants. Lammie is seen spinning, dribbling urine and kicking the ground as soon as she is released back into the enclosure on her own. From the other two elephants there is loud bellowing while they buckle their hind legs a typical sign of stress.
DA Shadow Minister of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries spokesperson, James Lorimer, says it is extremely distasteful and wrong. “How do you get to a situation where you have Zoo animals doing tricks, and for whom? Zoos are supposed to be about education and teaching people about the importance of wildlife, this does not aid education.””
OUTCRY OVER WORLD ELEPHANT DAY CIRCUS AT JOBURG ZOO
14th August 2019
“The NSPCA have expressed their disgust at the manner in which the Johannesburg Zoo celebrated World Elephant Day on the 12th of August.
Public Relations officer Meg Wilson said: “Today the elephants were forced to perform circus tricks and were visibly stressed. These animals have already been put through hell in training them, elephants are beaten into submission, chained and tortured to be able to perform these tricks. Now they are living in a completely inadequate captive environment where they are being forced to perform these tricks. This involves ongoing elements of control and discipline. In the name of entertainment, to ensure continued support of a zoo that clearly does not care about their animals.”
Spokesperson of the Johannesburg Zoo Jenny Moodley said it was unfortunate that the NSPCA used the meaningful day to discredit the zoo.””
TOP INTERNATIONAL BIOLOGISTS AND PLANNERS CALL FOR AN END TO ELEPHANTS IN CAPTIVITY
10th September 2019
“An international conference of Elephant experts has condemned the capture and confinement of Elephants and has called for zoos to release and reintegrate them into the wild or relocate them to sanctuaries where they can live a more normal life.
Holding Elephants in captivity causes them enormous stress and constitutes cruelty. Capturing wild Elephants and removing them from their families is unacceptable. Captivity is simply unsuitable for Elephants. This was the overall agreement at a conference held in Hermanus, on the 6th September 2019 attended by Elephant experts and specialists from Kenya, Zimbabwe, the United States of America, Great Britain, the Netherlands and South Africa. They were seeking to work out a framework and policy guideline for dealing with Elephants in captivity.
The conference, Taking the Elephant Out of the Room was organised by the EMS Foundation.
The conference was opened by Chief Stephen Fritz a community leader in South Africa. “Elephants are sacred to the Khoisan nation. Like us, they are First Nations. They’re our rainmakers and have been with us from before memory. For this reason my people have resolved to unite to protect them from cruelty and killing.”
Elephants Taken Out of the Room
“Hearing first-hand from Drs Poole and Bradshaw about the severe trauma that captive elephants endure, and having seen the extreme stress of Lammie and the two newcomers in Joburg Zoo, it is critical to get these elephants into a sanctuary, says Delsink.
I hope that City Parks and Johannesburg City Council watch the proceedings – they can no longer deny that zoos are no place for elephants and have the opportunity to do the right thing here.”
The even organiser, Michele Pickover, Executive Director of the EMS Foundation, expressed her disappointment that government representatives from South Africa’s national and provincial government declined their invitation to participate.
“This is disappointing, but not unexpected given the dismissive position our environmental agencies take towards ethical and welfare concerns for the wild animals they have oversight and responsibility for.”
ELEPHANTS INTERACTING WELL AS FIRST PHASE OF CONSTRUCTION NEARS COMPLETION
5th October 2019
“Elephant enrichment officer at the Johannesburg Zoo Candice Ward said the there elephants are interacting well after being released into the same enclosure on 12 September, three months after Mopane and Ramadiba arrived from the Eastern Cape on 13th of June in order to become companions to matriarch Lammie.
Ward said that since the new elephants were well trained before arriving at the zoo and Lammie was already comfortable in the in the environment, all the plans of the zoo staff succeeded.
“We are waiting for the competition of the rhino enclosure before we begin the next phase to expand the enclosure. This should be completed early next year.””