Pietermaritzburg zoo slams ‘untruths’ over Opal the Orangutan

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Protesters gathered outside the Natal Zoological Gardens on Saturday morning to protest against wild animals in captivity with special reference to the “solitary confinement” of Opal the orangutan. The event was organised by Ban Animal Trading (BAT) South Africa.
Protesters gathered outside the Natal Zoological Gardens on Saturday morning to protest against wild animals in captivity with special reference to the “solitary confinement” of Opal the orangutan. The event was organised by Ban Animal Trading (BAT) South Africa.
Nash Narrendes

The Natal Zoological Gardens at the Lion Park on Sunday hit back at its detractors who protested to highlight the plight of Opal the Orangutan, alleged to “have been held in solitary confinement for nearly 40 years”.

In a written statement on Sunday in response to the protest, the Natal Zoological Gardens said they “strongly object” to “misleading emotive untruths that are posted on Facebook and other social media platforms”.

“The Natal Zoological Gardens is regularly inspected by the SPCA and while Opal is currently on her own, that has not always been the case. Orangutans are naturally semi-solitary animals. Posts on Facebook claiming Opal has always been on her own are blatantly untrue,” said a spokesperson for the zoo, who asked not to be named due to threats previously having been received. These are not connected to the current protest.

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