[imagesource: Lowvelder/Stefan de Villiers]
South Africa doesn’t have the greatest track record with regards to our zoos.
The state of the Bloemfontein Zoo attracted the attention of Carte Blanche earlier this year, with many of the animals neglected and left to die by the bankrupt Mangaung Municipality.
Pumba Wildlife Park, in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, is a private zoo that plans to feature more than 140 local and exotic animals – including lions, tigers, and pumas – but it’s already courting controversy.
The Citizen covered some of the basics last month:
The proposal to build a zoo in Mpumalanga has been in the pipeline since the end of 2018, and was approved on 3 July this year.
This would be Mpumalanga’s first zoo, located on the outskirts of Mbombela, and has received its fair share of backlash on social media. The most common argument for those who oppose the zoo is the fact that the Kruger National Park (KNP) is practically on the doorstep of the zoo.
The property is owned by Hennie and Melanie Maritz, owners of Pumba Wildlife Park. Their attorney, Mandla Macbeth Ncongwane, told The Citizen that the backlash received by the public is mainly due to people not understanding the importance of the zoo’s presence in the region for local residents.
He says the zoo would create jobs, and afford those who are unable to visit the Kruger National Park the chance to see animals they otherwise wouldn’t.
You can read that full article here.
The story then found its way to Carte Blanche, who ran a segment this past weekend:
…the development has unleashed a torrent of criticism from animal welfare activists who say zoos are obsolete institutions that perpetuate cruelty.
As we celebrate World Animal Day on 4 October – a day intended to make the world a better place for animals – Carte Blanche investigates why this facility has been allowed.
It is virtually on the doorstep of the Kruger National Park which already offers outreach programmes to promote access to local residents.
As the segment goes on, the claims from the private zoo don’t quite seem to stack up.
One gets the feeling this won’t be the last time we hear about Pumba Wildlife Park:
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