Charley the elephant

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is looking to retire Charley the elephant. Photo: SANBI.

Retirement and a new partner for Charley the elephant after 20 years at Pretoria Zoo

‘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 the elephant

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is looking to retire Charley the elephant. Photo: SANBI.

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) announced it is pursuing options for the retirement of Charley the elephant from the Pretoria National Zoological Garden (NZG), in a statement on Friday, 29 July.

CHARLEY THE ELEPHANT HEADING FOR RETIREMENT

The 42-year-old elephant has been in the Pretoria Zoo for over 22 years. Before that, he was in a circus environment for approximately 20 years.

SANBI said it is looking to release Charley into a suitable wildlife sanctuary – or a similar setting – because of his advanced age and a number of other considerations.

“The retirement may include giving Charley the opportunity to have a partner following the death of his late partner Landa, in 2019,” said the Institute.

Charley is reportedly in good health after undergoing a comprehensive medical assessment recently. The assessment included 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), said SANBI.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister of Environment, Dave Bryant, welcomed the SANBI announcement.

“We are very heartened to hear that steps will now be taken to find a suitable sanctuary for the elephant. We would like to thank the Minister for taking the DA’s calls and the well-being of Charlie into consideration.

“It is now imperative that the Minister look into similar situations elsewhere in the country, including the case of the three elephants currently confined at Johannesburg Zoo,” said Bryant.

In 2021, the DA wrote to the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DFFE), Barbara Creecy, and asked for her help to release Charley from confinement at the zoo.

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