Activists caged in protest over the zoo

A group of Khoi and San protestors have decided to sleep in a cage for 11 days at Retail Park, in calling for the East London zoo to be closed down.
TAKING A STAND A group of Khoi and San protestors have decided to sleep in a cage for 11 days at Retail Park, in calling for the East London zoo to be closed down.
Image: MARK ANDREWS

An animal activist group began an 11-day protest calling for the closure of the East London zoo on Sunday.

The protest, taking place at Retail Park in Beacon Bay, involves five activists living and sleeping in a cage. The activists will be let out of the cage at about 11am on 21 March, and there will be a long march to East London zoo.

“We are a group of different organisations and entities who have come together to form a peaceful protest and a pressure group to have the East London zoo shut down, the wild animals relocated to relevant sanctuaries and the zoo grounds changed into something relevant to this day and age,” said the group’s spokesperson, Jeanie Goodrum.

In the group are members of the Ban Animal Trading (BAT) group and Khoisan activists, led by ANC MP Christian Martin.

“As a first step, we are focusing on the relocation of the jaguar, the bear, the baboon and the vulture.

The jaguar, as the ‘face’ of the first part of this campaign, remains in miserable conditions in its wire cage, despite attempts from the big cat NGO Panthera Africa to relocate the jaguar to its Big Cat Sanctuary,” Goodrum said.

BAT is proposing that alternative revenue streams be considered for the zoo grounds in order to prevent job losses.

“This could actually be an opportunity to create more jobs.

“Some ideas would include picnic areas, a water park with pools and slides, restaurants, a food garden to support poor communities, weekend markets and a mountain bike park,” said BAT director Dr Smaragda Louw.

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