The City of Johannesburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development, Cllr Nonhlanhla Sifumba, on Wednesday March 15 officially unveiled the new-look Johannesburg Zoo’s animal hospital, which has been revamped at a cost of R4.8-million.
The refurbished hospital, which has enhanced the zoo’s service offerings, has a much larger operating theatre and a public observation area.
The facility will also serve as a valuable educational asset for medical students, zoo keepers and members of the public without compromising the sterility of the environment.
The makeover is part of a R50-million City investment in the Johannesburg Zoo that includes the construction of a multi-storey parkade, maintenance and upgrading of existing enclosures and the acquisition of new animals to enhance visitor experience.
“Not only does the revamp of the zoo hospital enhance the scope of the services offered at the facility, but it also further entrenches it as a leader in conservation research and education,” said Cllr Sifumba.
The revamp has also enhanced the aesthetics of the once bleak-looking hospital. It now also includes a new specialised doorway to reduce the risk of sick animals escaping.
Cllr Sifumba said the extension of the facility was also necessitated by the increased demand on the hospital as the zoo grew over the years.
The zoo currently accommodates 365 animal species, including the big five, a phenomenal increase compared with just 10 animals, including two lions and a leopard, it had when it was established in 1904.
“The acquisition of new animals, coupled with the successful reproduction rates at the zoo and the need for increased conservation and animal welfare of endangered species, has accelerated the need for rapid medical response. However, the space to operate from became a major challenge,” said the MMC.
She said while the revamp had enhanced the hospital’s service offerings, there was a growing need to replace and upgrade aging medical equipment to make it a truly state-of-the-art facility.
“The upgrading of the zoo hospital is a vital step in ensuring that the animals in our care are afforded the necessary medical services in a safe, healthy and caring environment.
“To ensure we deliver and strive to provide our animals with the best veterinary care and treatment available, I appeal to members of the public and business within the medical fraternity to please donate specialised equipment to further enhance operations at the Joburg Zoo Hospital,” said Cllr Sifumba.