Animal Rights Groups are urging South Africa to join 30-other nations in discontinuing the captive enclosure of elephants in Zoos. This as concerns are raised as to what will be best for Johannesburg Zoo’s last remaining African elephant, Lammie. Last September, the 39-year old lost her companion, Kinkel, to a chronic colic condition. Animal rights groups have united and are calling for Lammie to be freed.

Death is part of the natural cycle of life and in the animal world it’s no different. The passing of a companion is often followed by a grieving process. Five months ago Lammie lost her companion Kinkel of 18-years, whom she shared a space with. Naturally, it has left a void.

Candice Ward, Behavioural Enrichment Officer, says that Lammie is doing well after the death of her companion.

“She did a lot of time looking for him, searching. She must have realised what had happened because of the way he went down, general grieving behaviour; sadness, confusion, but she’s bounced back. She’s doing very well for the situation that we find ourselves in.”

However, what will be in Lammie’s best interests, to stay at the zoo or go or be paired with another elephant? Animal rights groups want her relocated and reintroduced to other herds. Smaragda Louw of Ban Animal Trading says that the organisation is against the caging of animals for entertainment.

“We are against keeping animals caged for entertainment. People when they go into the Zoo, they don’t learn anything. Zoos don’t contribute to conservation. The elephant they going to bring in, if it happens, it means that elephant bonded to other elephants in captivity we going to upset that herd. Bring an elephant into the Zoo and just expect Lammie to accept this elephant, it’s almost just a double trauma. The space that Lammie has if we bring in another elephant, that space is limited. The animals won’t display their natural behaviour. Thirty Zoos internationally have stopped their Zoos, SA must follow suite.”

The Zoo is in the process of finding her a companion. Of importance now is for Lammie to start a new life without Kinkel.

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