COMMUNITY CALLED TO FIGHT ZOO’S PLIGHT
FOLLOWING the negativity surrounding the East London Zoo, local animal lover Robyn Krugel is determined not to let its state and reputation deteriorate any further.
Under attack for animal cruelty charges, zoo manager Alison Roux and her team hope for the zoo to emerge from the court case positively and move forward, despite various limitations.
“One of our greatest challenges is having to function within systems that are not conducive to the running of a live animal facility,” said Roux.
“There is a lack of understanding of the way in which a zoo needs to function and there are many requirements and time limitations that are not being met because of the lengthy procedures required by local government.”
“Despite the dire urgency of some matters, requests often take lengthy periods to be processed,” she said.
Roux also indicated the zoo's infrastructure is outdated, but it would cost more than R100-million to build new enclosures, whereas only a total of R2.3-million has been budgeted by Buffalo City Municipality (BCM) for improvements.
Krugel, along with Roux, have joined forces in the hope of encouraging the community to take ownership and become more involved in the zoo's maintenance and management.
“I really believe this zoo is very special and I want to urge community members to actively support it. We can't just sit here and watch, we need to do something. The zoo belongs to all of us and we need to take ownership,” Krugel said.
Krugel aims to help the non-profit organisation leg of the East London Zoo, known as the Friends of the East London Zoo (Felzoo), establish and run various fundraising campaigns and events.
First on Krugel's list is a Christmas at the Zoo Market Day early next month where kiddies Christmas celebrations and animal enrichment programmes will also run throughout the day.
Various events are in the pipeline for next year, including a National Zoo Day celebration in April.
The zoo also has five major maintenance projects for the upcoming financial year, including the improvement of the zoo's perimeter fence, primate enclosure, iguana enclosure and Sungazer exhibit, as well as the re-fencing of the wild dogs’ enclosure.
“The best we can do is to improve the facilities we already have and we're trying our hardest to get that done as soon as possible for the well-being of our animals. Currently I'm still waiting for the results of the tender process in order to start improvements on our primate enclosure,” said Roux.
The SPCA also recently re-visited the East London Zoo and have indicated to Roux and her team that there are no major issues hindering the well-being of the animals in their care.
“I have great respect for Alison. Running the zoo under these circumstances seems impossible, yet she carries on. The bond she has with the animals is truly amazing and I really hope that together we can get the community involved during this difficult time,” said Krugel.
For more information on how to support the zoo or the Christmas at the Zoo Market Day, contact Krugel at firstname.lastname@example.org or Felzoo directly at email@example.com
FOXY AMBASSADOR FOR COUSINS IN THE WILD: Zoo manager Alison Roux pictured with one of the six-week-old fox pups she has hand-reared since birth