Johannesburg Zoo confirms accreditation suspended
Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo on Friday confirmed the zoo’s accreditation with the African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZAB) has been suspended.
Spokeswoman Jenny Moodley said in a statement the zoo would respond to the suspension during a briefing on Monday.
“The briefing seeks to provide clarity by the Johannesburg Zoo, in light of the suspension by PAAZAB,” said Moodley.
“Our priority remains centred around the well-being of all animals in our care.”
PAAZAB suspended the zoo’s accreditation for 12 months following the death of eight rare sitatunga antelope, The Star newspaper reported on Friday.
The antelope, which were brought to South Africa from a zoo in the Czech Republic, arrived in the country without the necessary clearance certificates.
They were later put down because they were injured, dehydrated, and traumatised.
Johannesburg Zoo’s accreditation to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Waza) has also since been suspended.
These suspensions mean that the zoo will be unable to negotiate the transfer of animals from another zoo.
A PAAZAB report, which was presented to the zoo’s senior management on Monday, stated that the zoo had to meet certain criteria before it could re-apply for membership.
The PAAZAB report also stated that the zoo’s management should commit to a full “reformation” through training and assistance from the association for the 12-month period on all levels.
PAAZAB executive director John Werth told The Star that the zoo was also found guilty of misleading the public, as it said the animals were arranged by a private breeder and the zoo was only there to provide quarantine facilities when the antelope arrived.
The findings by the ethics committee showed that Johannesburg Zoo misrepresented itself as the final destination of the animals, in order to secure the donation of two of the animals from the Prague Zoo.
Werth said despite plans being made to transfer the animals to another facility, the zoo did not indicate this.
“On this allegation, we find Johannesburg Zoo guilty of wilful misrepresentation and of abusing their standing in the African association and the world association to assist a commercial facility in securing this deal, thereby providing the Johannesburg Zoo with two sitatunga at minimal cost to Johannesburg Zoo,” said Werth.