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Monkey World News

Campaign for release of orang-utan ‘not a publicity stunt’

A campaign calling for an orang-utan to be released from a zoological park near Pietermaritzburg and transferred to a sanctuary in the UK is neither a publicity stunt nor is it sudden‚ the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) says.

The NSPCA also denied that it had initiated the campaign and a petition to have Opal the orang-utan transferred to Monkey World in the UK to live out her last years‚ pointing out that it was the started by the Kloof and Highway SPCAs‚ which were independent and autonomous non-profit organisations.

However‚ it said it supported both the campaign and the petition and was assisting the two organisations. The NSPCA emphasised that‚ contrary to a statement by the owner of the Natal Zoological Gardens and Lion Park‚ Mr Brian Boswell‚ the solitude of Opal has been a contentious issue for many years.


“Appeals have been made‚ pointing out the suffering and cruelty taking place at his facility‚ amply demonstrated by the plight of the sole orang-utan Opal‚ alone in her bare enclosure. Therefore the issue/campaign is neither sudden nor a publicity stunt‚” it stated. According to the petition being circulated through social media‚ Opal has been a resident of the park for 34 years‚ spending most of this time in isolation after losing her mate and only baby.
“Her barren enclosure in no way replicates a natural environment‚ and no stimulation and enrichment is provided to prevent boredom and depression‚” the petition states.
The NSPCA pointed out that the facility to which it had been proposed Opal be transferred was Monkey World and not “a breeding facility” as claimed and that the facility used birth control for the primates.
“Monkey World is not a registered charity. However it is reputable‚ being supported by the Born Free Foundation‚ and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Income is generated through donations and its Ape Rescue Trust‚ asserting that the money is used solely for the rescue and rehabilitation of primates and no administration costs are involved.”
The NSPCA concluded by saying that neither it nor the Kloof and Highway SPCAs had anything to gain from the campaign or publicity.
“Our concerns relate to our mandate which is in our name: the prevention of cruelty to animals.”

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