PRESS ALERT: Picket in support of Lammie the elephant at Joburg Zoo

19 September 2018

Staff of the human rights and Palestine solidarity organization, BDS South Africa, including our chairperson, Professor Farid Esack (who also serves on the board of the enviromental justice organization GroundWork), will participate in a lawful picket at the Johannesburg Zoo (Jan Smuts entrance) tomorrow 20 September 2018 at lunchtime (12h00). The picket will be in support of Lammie, the elephant who has been imprisoned for over 30 years at the zoo. Animal conservationists, experts, residents of Johannesburg as well as other ordinary South Africans are calling for her release (click here for an article published yesterday in the Star Newspaper).

Lammie has been imprisoned at the Jo’burg Zoo for 39 years.

A male elephant, her “companion”, Kinkel, “died” recently due to “unknown circumstances”

This is not the first tragedy that captive-born Lammie (or the other animals at the Johannesburg Zoo) have endured – both her parents, Jumbo and Dolly, who were captured from the wild in the 1970s, died at the zoo within a year of each other and her brother, also born at zoo, died shortly after being sold to a French zoo.

As sentient beings reliant on family bonds, elephants in captivity display behavioral abnormalities, suffer from diseases, disabilities and have notably shorter life spans. Due to high infant mortality rates, no conservation value has been ascribed to captive elephant breeding programs.

Animal welfare and elephant experts are calling for the lone elephant to be released into a wild reserve where she can roam free and bond with a herd. The EMS Foundation has offered to find a suitable sanctuary for Lammie and to cover all the costs of her relocation. The National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) says it is opposed to keeping elephants in captivity citing their 2015 report which stated that nearly all captive elephants suffer welfare deficiencies (click here for more info).

While this picket is not a BDS South Africa event, we support our staff, members and supporters participating (as they have in the past) in various causes including but not limited to engagement in gender justice, labour rights, student activism, racial justice, animal conservation or environmental justice struggles.