• by: Future 4 Wildlife
  • recipient: Cllr Vasco Da Gama, Speaker of Council - Johannesburg; the City Council, Mr Herman Mashaba Mayor of Johannesburg, South Africa

While the 39-year-old elephant Lammie languishes alone after the death of her partner, Kinkel, internationally accredited elephant experts have publicly express their concern for her wellness and have called for her immediate release to a respectable sanctuary.

It is renowned how the death of an individual can have a large impact on elephant family members. This can be even more traumatic in the absence of the traditional healing structure of the elephant community, as in the case of a lonely captive exemplar living in a space with insufficient enrichment.

Worryingly, the Johannesburg Zoo has confirmed a plan to acquire another cow to keep Lammie company, but animal welfare organizations and elephant behaviorists have objected to this option, highlighting the suffering of elephants in captivity and opposing to this solution.

There is a worldwide trend moving away from keeping elephants in captivity, fact which led many major zoos to shut down their elephant displays. In fact, these animals, more than others, suffer due to their confinement both psychologically and physically, since they naturally need to cover an average of 45 kilometers per day to be healthy. As a consequence, 80% of elephants in captivity develop feet conditions and other serious diseases. Infant and premature mortality remain a huge threat in captive elephants. Incidents also occur: Lammie, for example, has lost one task and damaged the other in incidents at the zoo, when she fell into her enclosure's moat, in evident attempts to move beyond her confinement.

A few South African organizations, expert in elephant relocation, have already offered to manage all the logistic and cover all the costs of Lammie's transfer to a semi-wild facility which does not support human-elephant interaction and where the elephant can slowly be reintroduced in a more suitable facility. There, her primary needs would be finally taken in account and she would at last be able to express her natural behavior.

The Zoo and City of Johannesburg refuse any negotiation. They claim that the Zoo promotes conservation. This is very debatable. Even today, many wild animals are taken from the wild and brought to a premature death into zoos. Zoos claim that endangered animals are bred and released in the wild but this is never true; instead, animals are bred and sold or given away to other zoos or to perform in circuses. When there is a surplus are often euthanized. Zoos also give, in their education programs, the false impression that species are safe while instead, the real problems and threats like destruction of natural habitats, are never addressed. Zoos spend millions in keeping animals confined for entertainment while natural habitats are destroyed and wild animals killed as there is insufficient funding for protection.

We won`t let Lammie spend her entire life, miserable and lonely so that outdated models and policies can carry on being defended.

Johannesburg City and Zoo, you have a national and international community asking you to do the right thing. Let Lammie go to a respectable sanctuary.


Update #18 months ago
Lammie has lost her partner and, since then, is suffering, alone, in the Johannesburg Zoo. We need more signatures on this petition, please help by sharing widely her story. We have a chance to relocate her to a respectable sanctuary. Negotiations are in progress and could change her life for the better. Support our efforts by sharing this petition as much as you can, THANK YOU
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