The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) said it is pursuing options for the retirement of Elephant Charley (42) from the Pretoria National Zoological Garden into a suitable wildlife sanctuary or similar setting.
This decision follows a number of considerations, among others, the elephant’s advanced age, said SANBI in a statement on Friday.
“The retirement may include giving Charley the opportunity to have a partner following the death of his late partner Landa, in 2019,” said SANBI.
Charley has been at the National Zoological Gardens for over 22 years after being exposed to a circus environment for about 20 years.
“The recent comprehensive medical assessment done on Charley which covered hematological and blood chemistry analyses, fecal glucocorticoid metabolites analysis, bronchoalveolar lavage and a trunk wash, radiology of distal extremities, a dental and eye examination, as well as screening for tuberculosis (TB), shows that the elephant is in good health.”
SANBI said it is working on a suitable retirement venue option to a sanctuary and would benefit from cooperation and support from stakeholders and partners to ensure the continued welfare of the elephant. The requisite pre-release protocols including but not limited to psychological and behavioural assessment are being facilitated, said the institute.
The Chairperson of SANBI Board, Professor Edward Nesamvuni, thanked the Pretoria Zoo staff, the public, civil society stakeholders and partners for their support in ensuring the best possible life for Charlie at the zoo.
The date for retirement will be announced once all processes are finalised.