Claws out for DJ over zoo’s jaguar

Buffalo City municipality has Daron Mann in its sights after on-air comments on animal’s cage

Buffalo City is not happy with what AlgoaFM deejay Daron Mann has to say about its zoo jaguar’s cramped living conditions.
The Buffalo City Municipality has registered a complaint with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA against Mann over his campaign to improve the living conditions of the animal in a cage at the East London Zoo.
Mann said did not take it lightly when municipal officials and the zoo management failed to better the condition of the animals, and particularly the jaguar, as promised.
In July, Mann – who is passionate about animals – said the zoo and the municipality undertook to remove the jaguar, which was confined in a wire cage, to a bigger facility.
But when the officials allegedly reneged on the promise, Mann shared this with his listeners – to the annoyance of the officials.
The commission’s registrar, Shouneez Martin, confirmed receipt of the complaint from the Buffalo City municipality, but declined to give details.
“We are waiting for the radio station’s response.
“It usually takes between 10 and 15 working days,” Martin said.
“It’s important to know the station acknowledged receipt of the complaint.”
Buffalo City municipal spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said the council was a little disappointed that the matter was in the public domain before it was resolved.
“In the spirit of respecting the process, we will not be entertaining any questions except to say we hope the commission will guide us to ensure that all the parties concerned uphold their expected responsibilities.”
Mann said he started to focus on conditions at the zoo after seeing posts on Facebook about the state of its bears, which were described as tiny with broken teeth.
“I commented, saying I was very unhappy that in 2018, when scientific opinion says we shouldn’t be keeping animals in enclosures, they are still doing it and the animals are in such poor shape,” he said.
While he was broadcasting his show from the station’s East London studio, Mann said a manager of the zoo arrived, accompanied by a member of the mayoral committee of Buffalo City, saying they were unhappy with the comment he had made on air.
The pair then offered Mann a tour of the zoo – to which he agreed.
“I spent over two hours that afternoon [at the zoo]. It’s a depressing place.
“For me it breaks my heart. I see these beautiful creatures and you have got them in these tiny little cages.
“They showed me a jaguar, very magnificent and fully grown. It was in a tiny wire cage.
“This was like the 1950s for me. I said to them this is not good enough.
“They acknowledged this but assured me not to worry – by the end of July, she [jaguar] will be in a beautiful new place,” Mann said.
He went a step further by involving international bear expert Lionel de Lange, who was prepared to build a better enclosure for them.
Mann said at the end of July, he contacted the zoo but when he asked whether the jaguar had moved into a new enclosure, the reply was that it might take a few more months.
“I said this was not acceptable. I went on air and shared this with our listeners.”
AlgoaFM operations director Alfie Jay confirmed that the station had responded to the commission.
He said: “We now await its findings.
“We will only further comment on this matter once I have engaged with the [municipality] and we have a finding from the [commission].”
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