Zoo dirty, jumbo needs new home

2012-10-24 21:49

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.


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.

  • bradley.kadish - 2012-10-24 22:12

    What a unfortunate story. Please keep us posted on new updates about Thandora....

  • PeterJJhb - 2012-10-24 22:25

    That makes me so sad. Please keep us posted on any developments.

  • Oraniaboer - 2012-10-25 01:47

    Why is everything going for a ball of crap in South-Africa. I mean how difficult is it to take care of animals and the immediate surrondings.?

      Desilusionada - 2012-10-25 07:21

      South Africa has a nearly 40% unemployment crisis. Every day we are told that there is a skills problem. But meanwhile AA/EE/BBBEE continues unbridled.......

      robbie.crouch - 2012-10-25 07:34

      See my comment... not the Zoo management but higher up the food chain. - 2012-10-25 10:22

      We cull Elephants all the time.. WTF ? Anyways we have people to feed- RHINO and ELEPHANT's need to get in the back of the queue ..

  • Jane Mdakane - 2012-10-25 06:04

    Hope they find a home soon for Eli'....I love elephants so much...still remember using them for my matric art theme!!!!! They are one of my special animals!!!!!

  • Willie Olivier - 2012-10-25 06:57

    I do not know witch is worse, leave her to rot in a zoo run by lazy fools, or let her in the wild and get killed by the same fool's far easten friends for muti

  • robbie.crouch - 2012-10-25 07:32

    I have great sympathy for Barnes who is being short changed by the municipality when it comes to funding for the zoo. He has complained ad infinitum about the conditions but it suits the councillors to let the zoo fall into obscurity so that they can sell the land as it is prime property now situated in the centre of town so to speak.

      LJSanWild - 2012-10-25 10:20

      Hi Robbie can you perhaps help with a contact no for Barnes; I am confident that we can help but there is no reply at either of the zoo's listed number?

  • Hemlock - 2012-10-25 08:35

    Sad, sad, sad.....breaks my heart to see animals suffer. I cannot believe the municipality can't get staff.....I don't think they care enough about the animals. There are zillions of people desperate for work.

      robbie.crouch - 2012-10-25 09:40 This paints a clearer smellier picture...

  • richard.whittingdale - 2012-10-25 09:20

    good.that elephant was off its head in that zoo

  • LJSanWild - 2012-10-25 10:18

    Hi I wonder if anyone here can pls help me with a contact tel no or email for Darryl Barnes? Louise Joubert SanWild.

  • Jo.Davies123 - 2012-10-25 11:51

    This sounds like pure incompetance and laziness from the Zoo Manager in my opinion. What about on the job training? What about extending the search for personnel across other provinces? What about getting Thandora into a safe environment? I am anti-zoo to a large extent, so this is just ticking me off enormously

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