Lammie

After the death of her partner earlier this month, Lammie has been alone and mourning the loss but South Africans don’t want the Zoo to get her another mate… they want her to be FREE!

 

The Conservation Action Trust’s Melissa Reitz has written a moving piece urging the Johannesburg Zoo to release Lammie the 39-year-old elephant currently living alone at the zoo. At the beginning of September, her partner Kinkel who was 35, passed away from unconfirmed causes. Zoo officials are still working on the postmortem.

Concerns are now being expressed towards Lammie’s wellbeing after the loss.

Lammie was born in captivity at the zoo to parents Jumbo and Dolly who were taken from the wild back in the seventies. In her time at the zoo, both her parents and brother died. Experts are now calling for her to be released into a wild sanctuary where she can roam freely and live out her days reconnecting with a herd.

According to Melissa, the Johannesburg Zoo plans to acquire another cow to keep Lammie company. Animal welfare and elephant experts have objected to placing another elephant into captivity and have insisted that Lammie should be released into a wild reserve instead.

The EMS Foundation, set up in honour of Elizabeth Margaret Steyn, has offered to find a suitable sanctuary or reserve for Lammie and will cover all the costs of her relocation.

“The NSPCA strongly discourage bringing another elephant into captivity. Most captive elephants that have been in unnatural circumstances behave unpredictably and do not necessarily behave like a wild elephant would,” says Manager of NSPCA’s Wildlife Protection Unit, Martie Rossouw.

Melissa also argues that by acquiring a new elephant at the zoo, the zoo is going against movements across the globe that are working to fight having elephants in captivity. “This plan would go against the growing international move away from keeping elephants in captivity which has led to many major zoos worldwide to shut down their elephant displays.”

Elephants are sentient animals and rely on family units to mourn their losses. Without that family structure, Lammie will likely have some degree of psychological trauma.

“It is not unreasonable to state that Lammie is likely suffering significant grief and is traumatised given her history and the loss of her partner,” says elephant expert, Audrey Delsink, executive director of Africa’s Humane Society International.
 
“In order for Lammie to thrive emotionally and physically, she needs to be placed in a semi-wild facility that does not support human-elephant interactions and where she can express natural behaviours.  The zoo should be making immediate plans to unite Lammie with other female elephants of differing ages to mimic a herd and the critical “family” structure that is essential to an elephant’s social well-being and learning experience,” says Delsink.

All these experts are deeply concerned about her wellbeing. By speaking out about what is happening has pushed many people to become vocal and ask the zoo to reconsider. The City Parks managing director, Bryne Maduka, says the final decision on Lammie’s future will be taken by the Johannesburg City Council after reviewing recommendations from the welfare organisations as well as the zoo.

Hopefully, Lammie will be given the best. What are your thoughts?


Sources: Conservation Action Trust / Times Live / iol
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Tyler Vivier
About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

3 comments

    1. While it is lovely thought to release an elephant back into the wild people don’t seem to know much about elephants. Elephants live in family groups in the wild where an older female who has learned for GENERATIONS where water and food is leads the group. They DO NOT let strangers into the group. A lone female elephant would be killed by lions or die of thirst because she simply couldn’t make it on her own. I understand you people want her to be happy but it’s not as simple as letting her go free. Even orphans that are rescued are raised in groups and over years are introduced back into the wild in groups with a great deal of effort and teaching how to live in the wild. Releasing this elephant into the wild would be the same as dropping an African American who doesn’t speak the language or know the customs without a job to support themselves into Africa. It would be a cruel thing to do and the person like this elephant would find it almost impossible to survive.

  1. While it is lovely thought to release an elephant back into the wild people don’t seem to know much about elephants. Elephants live in family groups in the wild where an older female who has learned for GENERATIONS where water and food is leads the group. They DO NOT let strangers into the group. A lone female elephant would be killed by lions or die of thirst because she simply couldn’t make it on her own. I understand you people want her to be happy but it’s not as simple as letting her go free. Even orphans that are rescued are raised in groups and over years are introduced back into the wild in groups with a great deal of effort and teaching how to live in the wild. Releasing this elephant into the wild would be the same as dropping an African American who doesn’t speak the language or know the customs without a job to support themselves into Africa. It would be a cruel thing to do and the person like this elephant would find it almost impossible to survive.

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