The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) have condemned the opening of a zoo in the Mpumalanga Province. The NSPCA believes that commercial captive wildlife facilities are unnecessary. Since this zoo is situated less than an hour away from the Kruger National Park, its existence is illogical.

There are a plethora of welfare concerns surrounding zoos. It is impossible to provide the five freedoms to wild animals in captivity. This results in behavioural, emotional and physical issues. Furthermore, there are welfare concerns entrenched in the trade of wild animals.

Zoos around the country use the excuse that it is a necessary and valuable form of education. In reality, however, there is little to no educational value seeing wild animals caged in unnatural environments. It would be far more beneficial for children to observe the animals in their natural habitat or to watch documentaries of animals in the wild.

The location of this zoo, in particular, is less than an hour away from the Kruger National Park. A park which boasts the big five and thousands of free-ranging wild animals living their lives naturally. It is non-sensical for tourists or locals to visit this zoo when the park is on their doorstep.

“We encourage the public to rather visit national parks as opposed to captive wildlife facilities. The value of a natural park is infinite in comparison to captive facilities, for both the viewer and the animals,” said Senior Inspector Douglas Wolhuter, Manager of the NSPCA’s Wildlife Protection Unit.

The NSPCA will continue to undertake welfare inspections at this zoo and initiate the necessary action if and when it is required.

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