willie the koala

Photo: pixabay.com

National Zoological Garden: Wage strike ends in death of Willie the koala

Willie is the first and only rare koala born on African soil.

willie the koala

Photo: pixabay.com

The National Zoological Garden (NZG) in Pretoria is reeling from the loss of Willie the koala bear. Willie lost his life on Saturday due to health complications.

What prompted the NZG wage strike?

However, according to the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC), the death could have been prevented if the employers had not prolonged the wage strike that has been ongoing at the zoo for something over a month.

NTUC’s spokesperson, Vusi Msiza, told the Citizen that Willie, one of only three koalas found outside of Australia, was looked after by a conservationist who, with other staff members, embarked on the wage strike.

The employees that participated in downing tools demanded that the zoo introduce a fair salary structure where all workers serving the same functions are paid equally.

What caused the death of Willie the koala bear?

However, the zoo has a differing view with regards to Willie’s passing. NZG’s spokesperson, Craig Allenby revealed that they are awaiting confirmation from a histopathology examination on the actual cause of death.

Allenby explained that Willie became the first koala born on African soil in 2006, five years after his parents were gifted to former president Nelson Mandela by the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, on behalf of Australia.

The Zoo spokesperson has refuted claims that Willie’s passing came as a result of negligence. He argued that the koala had aged.

He also stated that not all staff members embarked on the wage strike. According to the zoo, there was at least one conservationist on-site to take care of Willie.

“There are currently one conservator, one animal attendant and a student present in that section. Assistance is available from other sections when need be.

“The majority of the NZG’s staff members are not on strike. Our veterinarians do daily checks on all the animals to ensure the welfare of our animals has not been compromised,” he explained.

Msiza from the union disagrees. He claims that Willie’s death could have been prevented.

“[The conservationist] was the only person who was taking care of the koalas at the zoo and Willie died because the person who takes care of him is on strike,” he exclaimed.

Please note. The koala depicted in the feature image is not Willie.