JAGUAR’S ZOO PEN IN FO­CUS AF­TER UPROAR OVER BEAR’S DEATH

Daily Dispatch - - Front Page - MADELEINE CHAPUT MadeleineC@dis­patch.co.za

Pub­lic and ex­perts also fear for health, at the East Lon­don Zoo, of Gina, daugh­ter of Jenny the bear that died this week. The two lived to­gether for 30 years.

As pub­lic out­rage against the East Lon­don zoo grew with news of 35-year-old bear, Jenny’s eu­thani­sa­tion on Wed­nes­day, so has Al­go­aFM DJ Daron Mann and Ukraine- based bear ex­pert, Lionel de Lange’s con­cerns about the re­main­ing an­i­mals.

Mann has now brought the con­di­tion of re­main­ing bear, Gina, who lived in the pit en­clo­sure with mother, Jenny for more than 30 years into the spot­light. The con­cerned DJ has been cam­paign­ing since Jan­uary to im­prove the con­di­tions of other an­i­mals at the zoo.

Pic­tures of un­healthy-look­ing bears that cir­cu­lated on so­cial me­dia early this year had sparked Mann’s in­ter­est, but af­ter vis­it­ing the zoo and see­ing a dis­tressed jaguar housed in a small wire cage, as well as the state of other en­clo­sures, Mann mo­bilised his cam­paign for dras­tic im­prove­ments, en­list­ing the help of ex­perts and con­ser­va­tion­ists, among them De Lange, of the Lawrence An­thony Earth Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“I hon­estly feel some­where be­tween anger and sad­ness on this right now. I have no words, what hap­pens to the re­main­ing bear?” said Mann, who's cam­paign and on-air re­marks about the zoo led to a com­plaint be­ing lodged by Buf­falo City Mu­nic­i­pal­ity with the Broad­cast­ing Com­mis­sion of SA re­cently.

Speak­ing on Mann’s ra­dio show on Thurs­day, De Lange said the re­main­ing bear would need a lot more nur­tur­ing.

“She is go­ing to stress if she’s got noth­ing to do but stare at a brick wall,” said De Lange, whose of­fers to cover the costs of a new bear en­clo­sure have yet to be taken up by BCM.

BCM spokesper­son, Samkelo Ng­wenya ac­knowl­edged the en­clo­sure was too small for the jaguar, said its health was not be­ing com­pro­mised.

The jaguar ap­peared to be in good health fol­low­ing a visit to the zoo by the Daily Dis­patch on Wed­nes­day.

“See­ing that mag­nif­i­cent jaguar in that tiny cage just broke my heart and it would be a huge suc­cess to see him moved to a big­ger en­clo­sure,” Mann said.

“But that’s not the only an­i­mal suf­fer­ing. There are en­dan­gered Cape vul­tures that barely have enough space to fly,” said Mann. Agree­ing with Mann’s con­cerns, Kate Web­ster, an East­ern Cape rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Vul­pro, a vul­ture con­ser­va­tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gramme based in Hart­beespoort, said the vul­ture en­clo­sure was also far too small.

Ng­wenya, said the zoo had put out a ten­der call­ing for the up­grade of var­i­ous en­clo­sures and to move the jaguar to a larger one, but the time-frames were not met due to there be­ing no qual­i­fy­ing “ten­derer”.

“We hosted a num­ber of zoo spe­cial­ists a week ago and looked at ev­ery en­clo­sure. Present chal­lenges in­clude the ap­point­ment of a qual­i­fied com­pany to do up­grad­ing of en­clo­sures and it is out of our hands when con­trac­tors bid­ding on a ten­der do not qual­ify,” said Ng­wenya.

De Lange said that his of­fer to help the zoo had fallen on deaf ears.

“We've of­fered help and they don't want to take it. As far as I'm con­cerned it needs to be shut down and all the an­i­mals need to be re-homed,” said De Lange.

It (zoo) needs to be shut down and all the an­i­mals re-homed Lionel de Lange Ukraine-based Lawrence An­thony Earth Or­gan­i­sa­tion

Pic­ture: MADELEINE CHAPUT

TOO TIGHT FOR COM­FORT: There is grow­ing con­cern over the jaguar at the East Lon­don zoo that Al­go­aFM DJ and con­cerned cit­i­zen, Daron Mann, be­lieves is be­ing held in an en­clo­sure too small for the an­i­mal.

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