23 June 2022

1. The Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo (JCPZ) confirms that it has been served with a High Court application under case number 32881/22.

2. The application has been brought by the Animal Law Reform South Africa NPC, the EMS Foundation and Chief Stephen Fritz (collectively referred to herein as “the applicants”). JCPZ is cited as the first respondent with the City of Johannesburg (COJ), the MEC of Economic Development, Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development, Gauteng Provincial Government and the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment cited as second to fourth respondents respectively.

3. The application pertains to three elephants which have been residing at the Johannesburg Zoo (the Zoo).

4. The applicants primarily seek to challenge, by what purports to be a review application, the decision by JCPZ and/or the COJ to continue caring for the elephants at the Zoo and, in the alternative, the failure by JCPZ and/or the COJ to take a decision to release the elephants into a rewilding facility. The applicants further seek relief in terms of which, inter alia, JCPZ and/or the COJ be directed to grant the EMS Foundation unfettered access to the elephants to assess their well- being and to release the elephants into their care for the purpose of facilitating their rewilding.

5. The application does not come as a surprise to JCPZ or the COJ and in fact communication between the parties’ respective attorneys commenced as far back as December 2021.

6. It has come to the attention of the JCPZ that the applicants have recently published or caused to be published a number of articles in the media containing a number of allegations which have been disputed by the JCPZ since the outset of the engagement between the parties.

7. The JCPZ herewith confirms and wishes to assure the public at large that the elephants are well, and their best interests are and remain the focus of the JCPZ and its staff caring for the elephants. The JCPZ has had this recently confirmed by independent experts, and accordingly the elephants will not be relocated or traumatised in any other manner in the foreseen future.

8. JCPZ’s legal representatives have been instructed in the matter and are currently considering the contents of the application in order to formulate a response thereto. The JCPZ is confident in successfully opposing the proceedings launched by the applicants, and will thereby continue protecting the elephants and act in their best interests.