A Facebook group, showing photos of starving bears at the East London Zoo, continues to attract attention as it places in the spotlight emaciated and neglected zoo animals. Stop Cruelty at the East London Zoo photos of mother-and-daughter bears, Jan and Emil with the bear’s mouth open showing her rotting teeth, evoked high emotions and outrage as animal lovers staged a protest on Saturday outside of the South African zoo, demanding the conditions be improved or shut the entire place down.
According to the Dispatch Live, the organizers of the protest, Nicol Sprink and Gabrielle Naidoo would like to see the zoo continue for its educational benefits, but if nothing can be done to improve the conditions, then turn the zoo into a sanctuary. Complaints inside of the facility centered around the size of the enclosures where the animals lived as well as their well-being and care.
Late Saturday afternoon, five East London stores ‘Pick n Pay’ stated they would be providing emergency food for the animals in order to supplement their diets.
“For 50 years Pick n Pay has been part of the community and in line with our core values in participating in every sector of society, we felt the East London Zoo was one of the beneficiaries that needed our help,” reported Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, director at the company, who agreed to provide out of date fresh produce to the animals.
Even though the produce was past its sell-by-date for humans, it is perfectly safe for animals. The first delivery arrived on Sunday with hundreds of pounds of ripe fruit, vegetables and crushed maize for the birds at the zoo.
The help for these animals came as a result of the petition on Change.org aimed to close the zoo or reorganize for the welfare of the animals. Animal conservationist, identified as Daphne T, created the petition for the East London Zoo to be shut down completely.
“Most South Africans upon visiting the East London Zoo feels sad and heartbroken after their visit. This intense feeling comes from the wild animals looking neglected and lonely. This zoo is not maintained and looked after which makes the public very sad. Our request is that this zoo gets shut down and that the wild animals are taken too another zoo or a safe place in the near future. The unacceptable cruelty, suffering, neglect and appalling conditions found at the East London Zoo needs to be addressed urgently,” states the petition.
In particular came the heartbreaking case of a male baboon named William who had been suffering from paralysis in his hind legs. An inspection by the NSPCA’s Wildlife Protection Unit observed William could only move by dragging his lower body. Authorities ordered the animal be seen and treated by a veterinarian. Allegedly, nothing was done for the baboon.
“The NSPCA’s return visit the following day revealed a significant deterioration in the condition of the baboon. He had open, bleeding wounds and was found in the exact area as the previous day.”
Inspectors observed the concrete flooring in the animal’s cage was covered in blood with pieces of flesh visible. Flies swarmed the area, the stench of urine was overpowering, and William had large open wounds which were infected and oozing with maggots. Sadly, the baboon had to be humanely euthanized to avoid further suffering.
The petition has garnered more than 31,000 signatures in less than two days.
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