The Fight To Free Three Johannesburg Zoo Elephants – High Court Application Filed.

JOHANNESBURG ZOO ‘INMATES’ LAMMIE, MOPANE AND RAMADIBA

A ground-breaking application for the release of three Elephants, held captive for public display purposes at the Johannesburg Zoo, was filed on the 20th of June 2022.

The application was brought by Cullinan and Associates, representing Animal Law Reform South Africa, EMS Foundation and Chief Stephen Fritz.

As sentient beings, Lammie, Mopane and Ramadiba are housed in an enclosure in the Johannesburg Zoo, under conditions that fail to meet even their most basic needs.  Experts have confirmed that the Elephants are exhibiting psychological distress symptoms as a result of inadequate living conditions.

There is no precedent for a case like this in South Africa, calling for the release of the Elephants to a sanctuary where they could roam freely.

Lammie has been living at the Jhb Zoo for 42 years – her entire life. In 2018, her companion of 17 years, Kinkel, passed away. At the time, the NSPCA and Humane Society International called for Lammie’s release, but the Zoo Management decided to source new companions (read ‘fellow inmates’) for her, completely ignoring the public outcry.

In 2019 the zoo ignored please to #FreeLammie and introduceds two new Elephants to her captivity instead ~ Mopane and Ramadiba.

HSI/Africa’s Wildlife Director Audrey Delsink, said: “We are furious that instead of doing the right and honourable thing for Lammie by giving her freedom in a vast sanctuary with a new elephant herd, Johannesburg Zoo has forged ahead and brought two new elephants for Lammie to share what remains of her life in captivity. Such was their haste to acquire these elephants, they have done so without completing any of the expansion or renovation work they promised and ignored both public opinion and the pleas of some of the world’s most eminent elephant experts and conservationists. The Gauteng Legislature has also utterly failed to respect the wishes of the 301,652 petitioners who called for Lammie to be released. Johannesburg zoo claims it acted legally but the question is has it acted morally, and from Lammie’s point of view the answer is no. This decision denies Lammie, and the two new elephants, the chance of a decent, fulfilling life. This sorry episode has exposed the zoo authorities as lagging far behind global trends to close elephant zoo exhibits, something that 150 progressive, modern zoos have already done in recognition of the inescapable fact that such captivity cannot meet elephants’ complex physiological, psychological and social requirements. Johannesburg Zoo may well have acted on the right side of the law, but they have found themselves on the wrong side of history.”

Despite the fact that 52 zoos across Europe and North America have closed their Elephant exhibits, there are still more than 1000 Elephants held captive in zoos around the world, for human entertainment. This figure includes 22 Namibian wild-caught desert-adapted Elephants, recently sold and transported to Dubai.

Elephants are highly social, complex animals, living in structured hierarchy in the wild, normally in herds numbering around 75 individuals. They form close ties with family members, and are not able to adapt to a life that is worlds apart from how they were meant to live.

There are many cases that illustrate the results of trauma bestowed upon Elephants during capturing and culling, such as the Pilanesberg Orphans. Rescued from an indiscriminate Kruger National Park culling, the young males in this instance ended up killing Rhinos and attacking tourists, because they had no role models (no adult, experienced males) as patriarchs.

Torn from their families to be inserted into a life of forced captivity, the three Johannesburg Zoo Elephants have no access to any normal surroundings mimicking Nature; they live isolated, unnatural lives, without any enrichment and without the support and love from a normal Elephant family.

The South African Constitution makes provision for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. This court application highlights the chasm between the interpretation of the law, and the physical situation that the Elephants are enduring.

Stephen Fritz, Senior Chief of the South Peninsula Customary Khoisan Council, said the legal remedy is being sought to have the elephants released to live out the remainder of their lives in a natural environment.

“Leading global Elephant experts have attested to the fact that Lammie, Mopane and Ramadiba are highly intelligent, socially complex and sentient beings who are living in conditions that are averse to their well-being, and are as a result in a state of distress.

“The conditions offered by the Johannesburg Zoo do not meet their fundamental physical, mental and emotional needs.”

Fritz said imprisoning the elephants showcases the past and the present will humiliate and disrespect South Africa’s culture and heritage. 

“For many years I have felt ashamed and powerless: I am, therefore, relieved that a large number of experts and scientists have united, bringing together a wealth of knowledge to offer these Elephants a powerful defence. “

In his affidavit, Fritz argues that the manner in which the City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo confine and exhibit the elephants is offensive to the culture and living heritage of the Khoi peoples, and undermines the recovery and perpetuation of their living heritage.

“Despite repeated representations and requests to release the elephants from captivity at the Johannesburg Zoo, the officials have failed or refused to do so.”

Fritz said the applicants are requesting that the court release the elephants into the care of the EMS Foundation, which will appoint relevant and qualified experts to assess the elephants and manage their relocation, rehabilitation and reintegration into a wild environment.

Both Lammie and her previous partner, Kinkel, who died at the zoo, have been injured after falling into the moat. In 2001, Lammie fell in and was reported to have “both right legs stiff” and broke her tusk, but survived. Kinkel fell into the moat in 2007 but was apparently uninjured. He died at the zoo in September last year after a long-term history of chronic colic and eating sand. He was 35 years old.

LAMMIE ON THE EDGE OF THE MOAT THAT HE FELL INTO AND INJURED HERSELF

Following Kinkel’s death, Joburg Zoo stated that the elephant enclosure would be enlarged. However, no such improvements have been made.

To this day, no renovations have been implemented and Ramadiba and Mopane were added to the same small and inadequate enclosure that Lammie has endured for 39 years. Furthermore, the new elephants, though of captive origin, were in a free contact system and were able to roam the confines of their previous home. Now, they will be imprisoned in a half hectare enclosure and have to face new challenges such as the moat.

“This is a sad day for elephants, yet another two elephants are unnecessarily been subjected to a life of imprisonment due to the lack of ethical management choices made by Joburg Zoo.” said Brett Mitchell, Director of Elephant Reintegration Trust.

Humane Society International/Africa is urging South Africans to show their disapproval by refusing to visit Johannesburg Zoo and to support elephant conservation projects that only portray elephants in the wild by protecting their habitats and protecting them from the threats of poaching and exploitation.

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Protect All Wildlife

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty and promote the welfare of ALL animals.

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals.

It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible.

Thank you for your support and consideration.

A Viral Video Of An Elephant Doing A Headstand Leaves The Internet Angry. Here’s Why!

A video of an Elephant doing a headstand has gone viral online and triggered a discussion about animal cruelty.

The video shows Elephant standing on its head, like he’s doing a headstand.

A video circulating on social media shows an Elephant in a circus-like pose while taking a bath. But the viral video has angered social media users.

The video has been shared by Morissa Schwartz on Twitter with the caption, “I didn’t know Elephants could do this.” It has received over 380k views and has had more than 200 comments mostly expressing the belief that cruel training has been used to train the Elephant to ‘perform’.

Meanwhile, in the video, it could be heard crowd of spectators gasping and cheering at the view. After watching this act by the Elephant, angry viewers took to the comment section to express their outrage. Many of them even claimed that the headstand was not real and the big creature was trained for doing so. People also said that there are chances that the animal was unethically trained to do it to entertain the crowd. The video has spread outrage on the internet.

Here are a just a few of the comments it garnered:

It is very essential for us to understand that these animals go through a lot of fear and pain in making such moves. The humans train them and brutally torture these animals to make them do these poses.

ELEPHANTS ARE BEATEN INTO SUBMISSION FROM A VERY YOUNG AGE

But we, the citizens, can create a groundswell of changes and instil compassion in the hearts of cruel human beings while creating a safe world for Elephants. If you’re genuinely hurt and angered by the atrocities against Elephants, here are nine things you can do right now:

1. Scratch off Elephant rides from your bucket list.

2. Boycott festivals that exploit Elephants and perpetuate cruelty

3. Do not visit zoos, circuses, or any entertainment that involves Elephants or any animals for that matter.

4. Educate yourself and influence your immediate circle of family and friends, creating ripples of change. Gods in Shackles is a great educational aid that exposes the dark truth behind captivity.

6. Write letters and petitions to your elected officials.

7. Remember to vote – you have the power to vote them out.

8. Share this story and help create awareness.

9. Write a science-based review on TripAdvisor and other travel sites.

What you can do to help wildlife

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty and promote the welfare of ALL animals EVERYWHERE.

Please support our work by donating ANY amount, large or small. It only takes a minute and your donations help make our work possible. Thank you for your support.

The Wildlife Friends Foundation Launches Largest Tiger Rescue In Thailand As Phuket Zoo Closes

The Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) is carrying out the largest tiger rescue in Thailand’s history as the renowned wildlife animal welfare and rescue organisation prepares to take custody of 11 tigers and two bears handed over by Phuket Zoo.

WFFT founder and director Edwin Wiek confirmed the news.

Edwin Wiek of the Wildlife Friends Foundation

“We are finishing off the new side enclosures for the Tigers right now, and we will be ready to pick up the first 4-6 in the coming week. We are still waiting for documents to move the Tigers, but I am pretty sure this ill be done by the end of the week.” Mr Wiek told Protect All Wildlife.

Part of the area at the WFFT site in Phetchaburi that the tigers and bears from Phuket Zoo will soon call home. Photo: Edwin Wiek / WFFT

Mr Wiek explained that he and Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, founder of the Elephant Nature Park, discussed the handover of the animals with the Phuket Zoo owners.

The zoo has been hard hit by the financial crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the facility without tourist visitors for nearly two years.

Despite previous encounters between WFFT and Phuket Zoo over the conditions many of the animals were kept in at the zoo, the parties set aside any animosity in order to determine the safe future for the animals, Mr Wiek noted.

Horrifying scenes inside abandoned Phuket zoo where starving animals are forced to live in squalor

“They were genuinely very concerned about the animals. They said they had refused offers for the animals’ skins and bones,” he said.

“As WFFT has the facilities and expertise to take care of large carnivores and currently houses more than 30 other bears, it was concluded that WFFT could provide the best life-long care for these animals which require urgent rehoming,” Mr Wiek explained. 

Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) will also rehome two bears from Phuket Zoo. Photo: Edwin Wiek / WFFT

The rescue and rehoming of 11 Tigers to a sanctuary will be the biggest Tiger rescue in Thailand’s history. However, due to the financial impact of COVID-219, WFFT must first raise the funds required to rescue these 13 animals. As such WFFT is asking for financial support to undertake this historic rescue, he noted.

“This rescue will be no small feat for WFFT. The financial resources required to rescue and transport 13 large animals from Phuket to WFFT alone will be significant,” Mr Wiek said.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have received more calls than ever from entertainment venues who cannot afford to feed their animals anymore. We try to help as many as we can. The fact is, though, that without financial support, we cannot help more.

“We are urging our friends in Phuket, in Thailand and around the world to please help with what will be a huge rescue, not only for WFFT, but for Tigers in Thailand,” he said.

WFFT is a registered foundation in Thailand. 

“In Thailand, like in every country in the world, animals are abused and exploited for profit and human gratification. There are many examples of animal exploitation within the tourist industry, for example, photo prop animals, animals performing in degrading shows, and elephant camps. Furthermore, there is still a thriving illegal trade in wild animals for pets and medicine,” the organisation explains on its website.

The top three major goals of the organisation are:

  • To rescue and rehabilitate captive wild animals and provide high-quality care and a safe environment for them to live for the rest of their lives, in a setting as close to nature as possible.
  • To campaign against all forms of animal abuse and exploitation in Thailand, work towards ending the illegal pet trade and discourage people from keeping all wild animals as pets. WFFT actively seeks to combat the illegal wildlife trade and to rescue animals from poor conditions or exploitation from human entertainment.
  • To provide veterinary assistance to any sick or injured animal; wild or domestic.

To learn more about Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), visit the official website here: https://www.wfft.org/

This video shows various animals including Tigers, Bears, and Alligators left for dead at Phuket Zoo due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The tourism industry all over the world has definitely been brought to a sudden halt but the animals who played a major role in that have also been abandoned. The clip was originally uploaded on YouTube and was shot by an Australian named Minh Nguyen, who lives and works in Thailand. 

“We are still fundraising for the tigers, and hopefully we will get some more much needed financial support in the weeks to come.” told Protect All Wildlife.

If you like to help fund this amazing rescue operation please donate ANY amount, large or small, at Phuket Zoo Animal Rescue.

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