Bfn Zoo: The good, the bad and the ugly

There was an outcry on social media this week over the state of the Bloemfontein Zoo.

It seems the social outcry on social media this week regarding the state of the Bloemfontein Zoo was a good thing.

According to Chris Smith, chairperson of the Friends of the Zoo, reports that the safety and health of the animals in the zoo were compromised and prompted patrons in Bloemfontein to donate to the zoo.

“The public’s response has been overwhelming. As such, we’ve received over 50 bales of teff grass as well as 20 bales of lucerne as contributions to the animals’ feed,” Smith said. “We even had four young children who touched our hearts here at Friends of the Zoo with their donations of 20 bales of feed for the animals, which we found to be worth around R11 000.” Smith said he believes that social media inflated the situation at the zoo, which caused the backlash from the public. Friends of the Zoo is a non-profit organization and sponsors and mobilizes causes of the Bloemfontein Zoo.

The spokesperson for Mangaung Municipality, Qondile Khedama, had not yet responded to questions on matters such as why the movement of animals has taken so long as well as an explanation as to where the animals have been moved to.

Meanwhile, members of the Bloemfontein community have expressed their dissatisfaction with explanations provided by the National Council of Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NCSPCA) as well as Friends of the Zoo.

Residents believe that there is a contradiction between the pictures shared on social media, which led to the outrage, and the explanations being provided by the Zoo’s stakeholders.

Pictures that were taken at the zoo on Sunday showed the animals living in appalling conditions. In one of the pictures, a baby hippo was seen in a dried-up pool. The municipality then responded by saying the pool was being cleaned. In another picture, a water tank with dried leaves could be seen. Again their response to the image was that the water bowls were being cleaned. This seemed not to make any sense, however, that was the explanation received.


Earlier in April this year, the Zoo also made news following the dehorning of two rhinos that were done at the zoo by two Mangaung Metro senior officials. The two officials were suspended from their positions as it is alleged they had dehorned the beasts without the city manager’s permission.

Police spokesperson, Chaka Marope, stated that no rhino horns have been recovered and no arrests have yet been made.– Jeretha Oozthuizen and Pulane Choane