The City of Johannesburg Mayoral Committee on Thursday, December 4, endorsed the Johannesburg City Park and Zoo Board’s decision to suspend two Joburg Zoo officials implicated in the recent illegal import of eight Sitatunga (antelope).
This is after the Committee received the outcome of an independent investigation conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) into how the animals landed at the OR Tambo International Airport in August this year without the necessary permits.
The investigation established that the name of the Joburg Zoo was used in an illegal transaction and details about the animals’ destination were misrepresented.
The two Zoo officials have since been informed of their suspension pending disciplinary action against them. The City is also receiving legal counsel on laying criminal charges against all parties implicated in the investigation report.
A consignment of the antelope from the Czech Republic via Germany landed at the OR Tambo International Airport on Friday, 01 August 2014, without all the necessary veterinary import documentation and clearance for the Schmallenberg Virus. The animals had also suffered injuries during the trip and were euthanised by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) just days after their arrival.
The illegal import resulted in the Joburg Zoo being expelled as a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (WAZA). The City of Johannesburg views the expulsion in a very serious light and will engage Pan African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZA), WAZA and all other stakeholders in finding a resolution to this matter.