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Zoo branded 'unethical' after eight animals die in transfer tragedy

Published on Aug 6, 2014 6:21 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Animal welfare campaigners on Tuesday criticised two major international zoos after eight antelopes shipped from Prague to Johannesburg zoos had to be put down after being confined without water for at least four days.

The Sitatunga antelope arrived at Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo airport on Friday without proper documentation, South Africa's National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) said.

It claimed that the animals had been without water for four to five days.

"All the animals were in various stages of dehydration and four had already collapsed" when their containers were opened, the NSPCA added. "There were signs of facial injuries and abrasions as a result of these animals trying to reach their water bowls and free themselves from their restrictive crates." NSPCA Inspector Wendy Wilson said this "tragic incident could have been avoided had the proper protocols been followed." The animals were initially destined for the Johannesburg Zoo from Prague Zoo - a major breeder of the semi-amphibious species native to central African swamps.

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