Many concerned citizens and Pretoria Zoo visitors recently flocked to social media to convey their dismay at the poor state of the Zoo facilities, lack of animals on view and the slowness of the renovations that are meant to be in motion.

According to some social media users, many animal enclosures stand empty, and there is litter that can be seen in the Apies River. 

The Pretoria Zoo is turning 124 years old in 2024. The South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi) took over management of the facility in 2018. 

In an interview with ENCA last week, Ntsiki Mpulo from the South African National Biodiversity Institute stated that “The zoo is in a relatively poor state in that it has not been refurbished for some time.” She stated that there were approximately 10 refurbishment projects that are in progress. 

On Thursday, 11 January 2024, Shonisani Munzhedzi, the CEO of Sanbi, gave an update on the state of the zoo’s renovations and took some media on a walkabout, saying they had made “great strides” so far. 

He added that there had been upgrades to infrastructure, such as renovations to animal enclosures, restaurants, bathrooms, and walkways.

Munzhedzi said that most of the upgrades had been completed, and they anticipated these to be completed soon, but he did not give a specific date.

Why should this issue matter? The Pretoria Zoo is turning 124 years old this year. It is supposed to be a national gem and asset, a landmark, and something for everyone to enjoy and be proud of – part of our national heritage.

Image Attribution: Jan Truter, Flickr