Residents of Mbombela in Mpumalanga are up in arms over the establishment of a Zoo in the area. More than 4 000 wildlife activists have signed a petition in their fight against the Zoo.
They say the owners of the Zoo, Phumba Wildlife Park, did not follow proper procedures when establishing the Zoo, which is currently under construction.
“How did these animals get here? Why are they here? What is the purpose of them? When we started reaching out and asking these questions, we got given orders to keep quiet. Two, why is the zoo relevant in this day and age? You know zoos have a terrible track record. They have a terrible history of not looking after wildlife and bad conditions. If the zoo does open, I will boycott it. And I will ask all my friends and family and relatives to refuse to go to it as well. Three, it is not normal for an animal to be in a cage and if anything COVID-19 has taught, it’s just not fair to be confined to a space. It’s not educational. Children can learn about animals through books,” says activist Mthobisi Mkhaliphi.
SABC’s Tumelo Machogo speaks to protesters:
A legal representative of the Zoo owners, Macbeth Ncongwane, has refuted the allegations that his client didn’t follow prescribed procedures when establishing the Zoo.
“They never approached the authority which is Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency to find out what steps did we take in order to establish this. My clients are law-abiding citizens. They followed the legislation that are in place. And a plan was prepared; a proposal submitted to MTPA. They had a look at it and they made queries and gave them the go-ahead to start constructing. They were part of the process that this park must meet international standards as well as the national standards, as well as the SPCA standards.”
Concerns over new zoo under construction in Mbombela: