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Following the arrival of two new elephants at the Johannesburg Zoo last week, the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has received footage of the zoo’s elephant, Lammie, with a dart attached to her rump in spite of health concerns.

The NSPCA has expressed concerns regarding Lammie’s health and have been unable to determine what her health status is – there were concerns and risks associated with immobilising her. The NSPCA now question, what has changed?

Furthermore, the NSPCA have the following questions: what was Lammie darted with? Why was it necessary to dart her? Was the darting/tranquilisation done to keep her calm during the press conference, or does the Johannesburg Zoo not have suitable facilities to manage an introduction without darting?

The NSPCA, in consultation with veterinarians, also expresses concern with regards to the type of dart used – it appears that it may have been a barbed dart, which should not be used on pachyderms. Darts without barbs are usually used on elephants because they drop out. The risk of using a barbed dart which does not drop is that the needle can break off, migrate, and cause an abscess on the elephant – this may cause local tissue trauma.

The NSPCA again calls into question the Johannesburg Zoo’s ability to manage elephants and appeals to their reputation to release their elephants into a suitable environment where they will be properly and adequately cared for.

The NSPCA remains of the opinion that wild animals belong in the wild.

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