A group of Khoi-San activists in the Eastern Cape will spend the next 11 days in a make-shift cage to highlight what they say is the cruelty of animals at East London Zoo.
The group that includes ANC MPL and Khoi-San activist Christian Martin entered the cage at Beacon Bay Retail Park on Monday morning where they will also undertake a vegan diet sponsored by vegan communities.
Martin has previously said that the East London Zoo run by Buffalo City Metro Municipality (BCMM), needed a radical re-think.
He said the zoo’s Jaguar had spent more than 24 months in a wire cage, not much bigger than a suburban swimming pool, containing a slimy trench, a pole structure and no trees for shade.
According to reports one of the bears at the zoo had to be euthanised after becoming paralysed in its hind legs.
Martin said the zoo did nothing for conservation awareness or education as the jaguar was kept in a tiny enclosure far from its natural habitat.
“As the Khoi-San people, we strongly condemn this practice and echo the call for the immediate relocation of the jaguar and other animals and the immediate closure of this zoo.”
The Khoisan activists together with Ban Animal Trade (BAT), likened the zoo to a ‘homeland’ and Robben Island. They said that they believed it was outdated and should be banned and written out of municipal by-laws in East London and South Africa at large.
The group of Khoi-San activists have become well-known for its unconventional ways of protesting.
In 2017, they protested outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria on a hunger strike for three weeks demanding the government recognises the Khoi-San as the first nation of South Africa.
Last year Martin slept in a coffin outside the offices of Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle to highlight the scourge of gang violence in Nelson Mandela Bay.
He said the activists and BAT will celebrate human rights day on behalf of the animals to highlight that animals have rights too.
They’ve called on communities not to support the East London Zoo and other zoos countrywide.
– African News Agency (ANA)