Top Cape Town zoo closes down

2012-06-01 08:42

Cape Town - One of Cape Town’s tourist attractions has been sold and is set to close down due to financial difficulties.

Tygerberg Zoo, situated about 40km outside of Cape Town, had been struggling for some time with high maintenance costs and a fall in visitors, reported the Cape Times.

Owner Lorraine Spence said she was sad to sell the property after almost 40 years but would not reveal how much the selling price was.

“I have 24 staff, some with up to 33 years service, who will be retrenched and have to be paid. I also have four people who live on the farm and for whom I will have to buy homes. It is sad. We are like family,” she said.

The new owner had a farm equipment manufacturing businesses.

Homes were being found for all the animals.   

Most animals would still be at the zoo for some time and entry fees would be reduced from 1 June.

  • procold2 - 2012-06-01 08:50

    sad, hope the animals get good homes

      JasonMichelleVanderbijlpark - 2012-06-01 09:23

      I agree with you, hopefully the other zoos etc would be able to give these animals a welcoming home. Can't exactly release a domesticated animal back into the wild, they would not survive.

      Darren - 2012-06-01 09:37

      I want Marty…I asked first.

      Christopher - 2012-06-01 10:37

      GOOD... Down with Zoos!

      sachasea - 2012-06-01 13:44

      @Christopher - "GOOD... Down with badly run, poorly funded Zoos where the inhabitants do not receive the care and conditions that they deserve!" There fixed it for you. Zoos also create a wonderful learning environment for people of all ages to see exotic animals face to face and learn about their importance in the world.

  • Jimmy - 2012-06-01 08:55

    Freedom at last for the poor animals.

      Iampeople - 2012-06-01 09:00

      Jimmy it is very unlikely that they will find freedom. A businessman cares about nothing but profit and those animals will get sold at auction the the highest bidder. Imagine being able to buy a rhino.

      MyThoughtsToo - 2012-06-01 09:25

      How exactly do you think these animals will have "freedom" now. They will die in the wild - Hopefully they will go to another caring facility to live out their lives. I do not agree with captive kept animals but once they are out of the wild we are responsible for them.

      Jimmy - 2012-06-01 09:29

      @mythoughtstoo, so why keep wild animals as domesticated animals in the first place? So that you can turn around and say \we are responsible for them\

      Dorothea - 2012-06-01 09:29

      what a silly thing to say, james.

      Andres - 2012-06-01 09:30

      Jimmy, you need to watch more Discovery Channel. Most captive animals cannot make it in the wild. They have not learnt crucial hunting and foraging methods, have become desensitised to predators and often end up in either other zoos, or in captive breeding programs.

      Phillip - 2012-06-01 09:33

      That was exactly my argument! I do not believe in bondage!

      Jimmy - 2012-06-01 09:43

      Precisely the point! Don't keep these animals in bondage(out of their natural ways) for your amusement then claim we doing it for them because they can't survive in the wild without 'our' help. You took away their survival instinct in the 1st place. Dah!Not only do I watch Discovery or Animal planet. I live in 'wild- Africa\r\n too.

      Nicole - 2012-06-01 09:46

      Jimmy does have a point- I went to that zoo on a school trip once and it was extremely sad to see - massive bears in tiny enclosures - it just wasnt up to scratch. I am sad it is closing and i really hope that the animals are sold to good zoos or rescue centres!!!!

  • bretton.eveleigh - 2012-06-01 09:04

    Let's be totally honest, the state of the zoo was dismal. I took my children there once, never again. Most of the animals appeared stressed, some even ill. The bear enclosures were in a shocking state! That's exactly why the numbers declined!JHB and PTA set the bar very high, once you've visited them you don't want to visit Tygerberg Zoo... I think JHB & PTA get state funding, which makes all the difference!

      tracy.moller - 2012-06-01 09:13

      So true. I haven't heard anything good about the zoo in years. Nobody wanted to go anymore due to it be to sad. And some parents refused to put their children through that. It can be traumatic for a child to see unhappy animals in such sad conditions.

  • cobus123456 - 2012-06-01 09:07

    Huge Cape Town icon that has really gone to the dogs

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-06-01 10:25

      The 'dogs" were always there. I saw it at the end of the 90's and now and than after it till this year, when I went to took some photos and it was never different. It needed good financial injection and being run like a business. Also saw some lazy bums working there while the basic slasher and 1 worker a day could have made a hell of a difference.( At least just slash the grass to make it more attractive at R 150 a day for a weak or 2) They could have done the more "Cape Gardens concept" to get more visitor friendly and attractive, but ja, you need money for that. My letter of complains and suggestion is still filling up dust somewhere, but a fitness-park and other things gets build that 15 to 20 people use.

      Ashley - 2012-06-01 13:08

      DuToit, I even wrote to Carte Blanche about this Zoo.

  • Justin - 2012-06-01 09:11

    C'mon Govt, what you gonna do about this?

      Jean - 2012-06-01 09:18

      Don't think I gov should do anything, if its not profitable then there's no reason for it to stay open, we need tourist attractions that can sustain themselves and can add on to our economy, not be a burden.

      lydonmcg - 2012-06-01 09:22

      I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be profitable.

      Jean - 2012-06-01 09:31

      Its Cape Town... There are a lot of things to do in Cape Town, many tourist attractions compete with each other and zoos are not to everyone's taste. I would rather go to that nature reserve in worcester than a zoo.

      zaakiro - 2012-06-01 09:35

      @lydonmcg I think because it's a business....

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-06-01 10:34

      @ Justin - nothing @ Jean - You clearly did not saw the amount of paying visitors visiting it. Imagine if it was a decent place to go to. Now we have....nothing! @ Zaakirinho. Maybe, but now we have nothing. 1st move from Zoo Park, Kraaifontein to the bush(Joostenberg Vlakte) now the industries and house are creeping in again. You must go and check the gov. blue print for the expansion via N1 and you will understand.

  • Jean - 2012-06-01 09:14

    There's a zoo near Cape Town??... Never knew. Don't know why we need zoos, I mean we have nature reserves, that's soooooo much better! now we just need to do something about circuses...

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-06-01 10:50

      there is a big difference between a zoo and a circus.... come on now people, zoos are there for education and breeding of animals, circus' are there for entertainment

      sachasea - 2012-06-01 11:03

      Ask any biologist who has a career in zoology whether we need zoos and they will tell you that we do. I take it you've never heard of In-situ and Ex-situ Conservation? Zoos are the reason why we still have many of the rare and extremely threatened species of animal left on the planet. I don't like zoos due to animals having to be kept captive in small amounts of space and gawked at by us humans, but they do serve an important role in educating people about nature. The majority of city dwellers who visit zoos will never have the chance to see these animals in their natural habitat.

      sachasea - 2012-06-01 11:17

      London Zoo was incredible, informative and well funded with high standards for the welfare of their animals. Tygerberg Zoo was definitely one of the worst zoos that I've ever been too. It was very dirty and I remember going there back in the early 90's with my mother one day. A member of staff was giving an orangutan a cigarette to smoke in front of a group of onlookers. The zoo visitors were highly amused by this, but we were so disgusted that we made a complaint to the management. To this day I don't know if a permanent end was put to that practice.

  • shamier.chandley - 2012-06-01 09:19

    Perhaps its for the best. Despite the owners best efforts you could see they were battling.

  • Jako - 2012-06-01 09:22

    i am no bunny hugger but all zoos should be banned

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-06-01 10:52

      ummm no.... some of the only animals left in the world are found at zoos, yes some 3rd world countries zoos are shocking, but the decent ones are great and serve a vital function for wildlife and education

  • elaine.swart - 2012-06-01 09:24

    The Reason attendance dropped was because people don't like to pay premium prices to see animals neglected. It was horrible last time we walked through there. It could also have done with some marketing skills. What is sad is that the children of the Western Cape have never really had a good Zoo experience.

      Bless Boswell - 2012-06-01 09:30

      Zoos should all be closed. They are nothing but animal prisons. Sad depressing places. Same goes for circuses. Animals are made to perform humiliating acts - elephants, lions etc are very dignified beasts. Making them jump through hoops and bow down to man is not what they were born to do. Circuses can do without the animals - if people want to behave like clowns and degrade themselves at least they have the choice to do so.

      brian.connell.18 - 2012-06-01 09:30

      There's no such thing as a GOOD zoo experience. Go to Kruger rather, or any other park/reserve - now THAT is a good experience.

      Ashley - 2012-06-01 13:07

      Elaine, i so agree, the 5 lions that were there were in an enclosure not bigger then my back yard. the habitats were nothing like the animals real habitat, was dry, no water for the animals. they are better off, to be given to another Zoo, let them go to Pretoria Zoo, Lorraine you suck.

  • Tarryn - 2012-06-01 09:47

    Thank goodness its closing. I was there in October last year and was shocked at the state the animals were in and the size of their enclosures. The lions were so upset they kept pacing, the lemur would run around in circles it was in such a state. I said to my fiance' then and there that i would love to report them because even animals kept in captivity should not be kept like that. i was so heart sore!!!!

  • derk.woldendorp - 2012-06-01 09:57

    Parliament should move to this zoo

      Juan - 2012-06-01 10:05

      Yeah Zoomer and juju can be the leading attraction lol

      simone.gibson.73 - 2012-06-01 10:06

      ha ha ha well said Derk.

  • simone.gibson.73 - 2012-06-01 10:12

    Very sad indeed to see this zoo close down and yes I do believe the animals will be much happier elsewhere and I just hope the owner thinks about them first rather than money!! Most of the animals especially the apes have been their most of their lives so it will also be hard for them to relocate. I do believe I heard that they wanted to develop the land so I can just imagine the owner will be receiving a fat cheque for selling the zoo!!! I hope she puts some of that forward to the safe keeping of those animals who brought her family money at the end of the day now it is the animals turn to get it back!!! We can only pray she does not sell them to the highest bidder without checking background etc etc. All the best to the animals as they are the one's we care about the most!!!

  • jacques.smit - 2012-06-01 10:16

    Thank goodness.. Finaly.. That place was discusting.

  • topsy.krets.5 - 2012-06-01 11:20

    I was at that zoo a while ago, and left there heart broken. I have to be honest and say I am not sad that the zoo closed, and can only hope the animals are found much BETTER homes where they wont look so sad and unloved. (yes, I suppose the lack of funds is partially responsible for the place looking so neglected, but perhaps a fund raising event could've assisted etc)

      Jane - 2012-06-06 16:38

      I agree with topsy, I went there last year and left almost in tears, the poor chimps were being kept in a very small enclosure with a cement floor, there wasn't any greenery in their enclosure and not a single toy or piece of equiptment for them to play on, I was so upset. I am sure the owners meant well in providing a safe place for all the animals, but there is only so much you can do if you don't have the funding, all in all, a very very sad story.

  • christine.d.nagel - 2012-06-01 11:58

    So sad that it has come to closing down after all these years.

  • Ashley - 2012-06-01 13:05

    Thank Goodness this place closes.....Went there a year ago and was appalled to see how those animals were treated. 5 Lions in a enclosure not bigger then 1000 square meters. Dry and no attention given to the animals habitat. Thank god!!!!! Lorraine you suck!!!!!

  • bolelang - 2012-06-05 15:56

    I'm not a fan of zoos and the population also is starting to gravitate in that direction. The reason that the number of visitors to the Tygerberg Zoo were decliniing tells a story. All change comes with disruption and I'm sorry to see that people are affected in the process.

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