4th February 2020

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoos are in the process of expanding their elephant enclosures and expect to complete the full project by the end of 2022. Executive manager at the Joburg Zoo Lombard Shirindzi said: The expansion was subject to relocating the rhinos and then absorbing that space to extend the elephant enclosure. We must bear in mind that the current enclosure meets acceptable standards to house elephants.

The zoo began discussions on expanding the elephant enclosure after community members protested concerning the size of the current enclosure, which currently houses three elephants, saying that it is too small.

Shirindzi said the the architectural plans and bill of quantities for the enclosure for the three rhinos has been completed while the expansion plan for the elephants will be completed in June this year. So far, improvements, including a mud bath and water pond for the elephants, has been completed.

An inter-linking ramp between the elephant enclosure and the black rhino enclosure will resume in July this year and be completed in December this year. Architectural plans and the bill of quantities for the white rhino enclosure and night-room are still underway and will be completed by the end of December this year.

Conversion of the rhino night rooms into an elephant night room and information centre respectively will be done in 2021 and 2022.


2nd April 2020

“Annette Rademeyer of the King Williamstown SPCA Near East London says: “Officialdom will tell you that many children come to the zoo who would not have the opportunity to see these animals in the wild. But what are we teaching the children. That it is okay to incarcerate animals under such conditions to be made fun of, there is no educational purpose being served.

In South Africa with its rich wildlife heritage, opportunities exist for people of all demographies to see wild animals in their natural habitat. The SANParks open week is but one example, and privatised wildlife sanctuaries in South Africa are also stepping up.

A movement labelled #truesanctuaries has taken off in South Africa, spearheaded by five internationally -accredited sanctuaries that operate on the strictest ethical guidelines.

The Drakenstein Lion Park in Paarl, Panthera Africa outside of Stanford, Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary near Plettenberg Bay, the Born Free Foundation at Shamwari and Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary near Bethlehem in the Free State, all abide by these standards that say no to breeding, trading and interaction.

Isobel Wentzel, group curator for the South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance says, “there is no place left for any zoo where animals are simply incarcerated for vistors gaze. Animals in zoos are seen as objet on display, they might as well be stuffed animals. Visitors, especially children who leave a zoo, take nothing of value home with them.”

Leading global conservationist Damian Aspinall says the writing is on the wall. “We’re not suggesting that zoos be closed straight away, that is not a viable option. We suggest that a plan is put in place so that zoos are phased out over a 25 to 30 year period.”