The NSPCA expresses its concern over the lack of transparency and pure inaction by Cape Nature, the Western Cape Provincial Nature Conservation authority, regarding the lone elephant bull in captivity at Fairy Glen Nature Reserve – where three lions were left suffering after sustaining serious burns in February this year.

Since becoming aware of the approximately 43-year-old elephant bull, who has been solitary and confined since 2008, the NSPCA requested the nature conservation permit and license in terms of the Performing Animals Protection Act 24 of 1935.

Now, almost four months later, Cape Nature is mum about the status of the reserve’s compliance with nature conservation and animal exhibition laws, citing “CapeNature confirms that every effort is being made to facilitate compliance and, whilst the entity has made reasonable effort towards compliance of the facility, CapeNature is not at liberty to discuss the detail of its dealings with Fairy Glen.”

The NSPCA has therefore submitted an application/request in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PAIA) to Cape Nature, wherein we shall seek information about the compliance status, as well as Cape Nature’s dealings with Fairy Glen.

The welfare of the bull is at risk, with the NSPCA appointed veterinarian noting muscle atrophy, which requires a specialised diet.  The NSPCA has confirmation from Fairy Glen that the elephant is not receiving any supplements with its food and that the private facility relies on donations from the public to sustain the elephant’s feeding. The elephant only receives lucern, vegetables, hay and spekboom. Cape Nature has an obligation, thanks to the NSPCA’s previous High Court litigation, to consider welfare in its decision-making regarding the animal.

The NSPCA will not condone the blatant exploitation of animals, which ought to be strictly regulated by nature conservation authorities, but which is rather kept under wraps, probably for fear of further action.

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