The Johannesburg Zoo estimates that about 100 African elephants are killed on a daily basis on the continent.

The current elephant population in Africa is 400 000 and on the day that World Elephant Day is being commemorated, the Zoo has lamented the dwindling elephant population.

The day aims to educate people about the preservation and protection of elephants.

The  Johannesburg Zoo also took the opportunity to pay tribute to it’s oldest elephant, Lammie, who turned 40 on Monday.

 

Lammie is the oldest living elephant at the Johannesburg Zoo. Born and bred there – the zoo is the only home she has ever known.

Although she stays isolated from other animals, Zoo Keeper, Alice Masombuka,  describes Lammie as a non-aggressive elephant.

“Lammie is a very sweet elephant. She’s got a very sweet personality. She’s not aggressive, she’s very submissive and she’s very busy to work with so she’s a very manageable elephant. Because she’s a zoo born elephant, this is the only environment she knows, she’s used to this environment.”

In September 2018, she was struck by tragedy when she lost her companion, Kinkel.

While she is languishing alone since the death of Kinkel, elephant experts were calling for her release from the zoo to a sanctuary.

This led to the zoo to find Lammie two other elephants to keep her company.

 

“We have a process now where we have two new elephants that have joined her. There’s a process of integrating them together, so that takes a bit of time.  We don’t just want to rush it because the caregivers are doing this very carefully – taking this each day at a time and seeing that everything goes well,” says Joburg Zoo Board Chairperson, Edgar Neluvhalani.

Neluvhalani says they used the opportunity of World Elephant Day to also pay tribute to Lammie’s milestone.

“This is for me and for the Johannesburg Zoo a great event. This magnificent animal that has been here for all this 40-years, born right here and we’re excited and we are quite excited that this day on Elephant Day that we celebrate this wonderful animal.”

Neluvhulani says it won’t be long until Lammie is integrated with the other two elephants. He says that they are still waiting for the contractors to come and make space for the other animals.