Zoo dirty, jumbo needs new home

2012-10-24 21:49

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Johannesburg - An elephant needs a new home because of unhygienic living standards in the Bloemfontein zoo, the National SPCA said on Wednesday.

"The lack of cleaning staff led to compromising of the hygiene standards and the living conditions of the animals," the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) said in a statement.

These staff shortages included animal keepers, which affected the animals' care and welfare.

Zoo manager Darryl Barnes said they had been struggling to find staff the past few years, but the situation had worsened in recent months.

"The last couple of years, the staff situation has... [become] worse and worse," Barnes said.

Desperate


The NSPCA said the Mangaung municipal council, which owns and operates the zoo, had agreed to help by hiring casual staff until permanent appointments could be made.

They said "desperately needed" improvements were already underway.

Barnes said the council's response to the problem came after the NSPCA brought concerns about hygiene and living standards at the zoo to its attention.

"The problem wasn't really being addressed as it should have been," Barnes said. He said the zoo had struggled with staffing as Bloemfontein was not a major city centre and qualified staff could not be found locally.

The zoo would now seek out qualified applicants across South Africa.

The NSPCA said a new home had been found for the zoo's 27-year-old elephant, Thandora. She would be relocated to a "virtually" free-roaming environment with other elephants.

Barnes said the zoo had been searching for a new home for Thandora for the past 10 months. He said that while an option had been found, it had not yet been finalised.

Elephants can live for up to 70 years in the wild, but their life expectancy is usually much shorter in captivity.

- SAPA
Read more on:    spca  |  bloemfontein  |  animals
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