SPCA against elephants on wine estate

Lazing on rolling green lawns, idly walking down dirt pathways and interacting with visitors – this is what the Meerendal Wine Estate has in mind for three elephants from Limpopo.

While the City of Cape Town and CapeNature mull over the historical Durbanville property’s proposal to bring the animals to the Western Cape, the SPCA has criticised the move, branding it “cruel” and “unacceptable”.

“We have strongly recommended against it,” said Bretty Glasby, the Cape of Good Hope SCPA’s wildlife unit manager.

For Deon Adriaanse, former co-owner of the estate who is acting as a consultant for the process, cancelling the move would not only be sad but also a massive loss for elephant research and conservation.

“This is a unique opportunity to reintroduce elephants to the Western Cape,” he said. “But we cannot go through with this until all the boxes have been checked, and that means we want to make sure it is okay with all the parties involved.

“We don’t want any hostility,” he added.

Adriaanse explained that the orphaned and “tamed” elephants – which would be hired from the Elephants For Africa Forever group in Limpopo – would:

* Have the full 220 hectares of the Meerendal property at their disposal.

* Be sheltered at night for their own safety.

* Be of the same sex, eliminating the chance of any aggression as a result of the animals being in musth.

Plans to offer elephant-back riding have been scrapped.

“This much more than just a tourist attraction,” he said. “The money it would bring in is negligible.

“This is about conservation and research; to raise awareness around these animals and look at whether it’s possible to reintroduce them to Tygerberg.”

The last elephants in the area were killed in 1702.

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