Zoos are becoming less attractive to customers because the demand for animal performances and exploitation is decreasing, according to the director of the welfare organisation Animal Asia. This is despite the fact that the demand for animal exploitation is exaggerated by those who provide it. 

Zoos are increasingly searching for alternative revenue streams. For example, the Pretoria Zoo hosts public parties, festivals and after-hours events which often feature live music, DJ line-ups and alcohol.

The administrators and advisors of the Pretoria Zoo continue to justify the captivity of elephants for conservation purposes. However, this argument is questionable as there are already large populations of elephants living in natural environments in South Africa. 

Public conservation education is a requirement for membership in professional zoo associations.  However, in recent years, zoos have been criticized for failing to educate the public on conservation issues and related biological concepts.

Background of the development of the Modern Zoo 

Carl Hagenbeck was a prominent animal trader animal and ethnographic showman in the 19th century. He was known for his enormously popular displays of humans, animals and artefacts gathered from all over the world, and he supplied many European zoos with wild exotic animals.  In 1907, he created the first modern zoo: a zoo featuring wild animal enclosures that were designed without any bars. 

The Hagenbeck revolution, as it was known, included enclosures using moats and artfully arranged rock displays to discreetly confine animals. In this manner, Hagenbeck attempted to artfully disguise their captivity and in doing so created the illusion that the animals on display were living in a natural environment.

David Hancocks, a well renowned British zoo director, architect and consultant, envisioned and oversaw the creation of a revolutionary gorilla exhibit in 1976 which featured amongst other, mature trees and an abundance of natural foliage at the Woodland Park Zoo.  David Hancocks has subsequently become an outspoken critic of zoos and similar institutions.  In an interview,  commenting on zoo architecture and enrichment he concluded:   

“The exhibits today may now look more natural, but in terms of animal needs they are typically not much better than the old menagerie cages (which, incidentally, still remain in every detail in many holding facilities and off-exhibit zoo areas). Concrete trees, vegetation that is sealed off by electric wires, acres of fake rockwork that does not feel or act like real rocks in its thermal capacities, substrates that just get packed down harder and harder, are never tilled and become like concrete. A few dead trees perhaps, that are dried up and hard as iron, and just as useless to the animal occupants. More disturbingly, nothing ever changes in these useless zoo spaces. Zoo animals step out into the very same unchanged space every morning day after day after year after year”.

And also: 

“The zoo passion today for ‘enrichment’ is, to me, a public admission of defeat. In a space that gives the animals what they truly require there is no need to litter the place with junk and other distractions. Animals in the wild don’t require ‘enrichment’. They have agency and can choose to interact with the living components of their natural habitats (physical, living and social). They are able to engage the repertoire of behaviours that they evolved for use within their natural habitat and to do so without being artificially enticed to mimic a few aspects of those behaviours by a keeper. 

Animals in the wild do not require a keeper’s stimulation to be active; they have places worth exploring and have their natural, social mix of compatriots, and that is a sufficient stimulus for them to be active. They can dig, fly, run, climb, soar and do all manner of natural things denied to most animals in most zoos”.



Members of the Pro Elephant Network have once again expressed their dismay about the treatment of Charlie at the Pretoria Zoo. Videos of him stereotyping while loud music is heard in the background have been published by a visitor to the Pretoria Zoo on Tik-Tok.

PREN has previously expressed concern about the negative effects the continuous loud and live music played at the well attended SANBI Pretoria Zoo party events are having on the welfare and well-being of resident animals, especially Charlie.

PREN addressed an urgent letter to:

Honourable Barbara Creecy Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, SANBI Chairperson Professor Edward Nesamvuni  and the CEO of SANBI Shonisani Munzhedzi 

Filmed and published on the social media platform TikTok, the Elephant known as Charlie showcases stereotypical behaviour at the Pretoria Zoo. The video is posted by TikTok subscriber Anell Eelox with the caption “This elephant is feeling the music, the cutest thing I saw today #elephantdancing #majestic #pretoriazoo”

Stereotypies are repetitive, seemingly functionless actions. In Elephants, they typically involve repeated rocking from side to side, swaying, and head bobbing and appear in those animals who are strictly confined such as, for example, chained.

The presence of stereotypic behaviour is widely[1] acknowledged to be an indicator of poor animal husbandry, and suffering.   Stereotypic behaviour also indicates social isolation, or conflict, anxiety, frustration or fear and severe anxiety.  Dr Bob Jacobs, a member of PREN, neuroscientist at Colorado College and an expert in comparative neuroscience in particular the brains of Elephants, has highlighted how Elephants and cetaceans share several characteristics that make them especially vulnerable to impoverished artificial environments, which affect and damage the fine structure and function of their brain. Stereotypy, which reflects dysregulation in the brain’s motor control systems, has been observed in both humans and non-human animals.

The aforementioned post on TikTok, with its one billion subscribers, contradicts SANBI’s commitment to science and technology.  

While members of PREN can forgive the comments of an uneducated visitor to the zoo, they cannot ignore the fact that the board of the South African National Biodiversity Institute condones the conditions under which a captive Elephant is forced to endure. It is for this reason that on the 28th of August 2023, members of the Pro Elephant Network wrote an URGENT letter of concern about the wellbeing and welfare of Charlie at the National Zoological Gardens in South Africa.  

Concern for Charlie was expressed in light of the fact that the zoo is utilized for party events where alcohol is served and DJs present a line-up of music which lasts for several hours.  This is not appropriate for animals that are forcibly held in captivity.  

PREN members note that, despite raising concerns in previous correspondence, numerous other events have continued to be held at the Pretoria Zoo in September and October 2023. 

Did the Zoo conduct any precautionary welfare assessment on the impacts of loud music on the animals? Were precautions taken to minimise negative impacts? Were areas accurately chosen? Were impacts monitored, and recorded? Did the zoo measure sound? Did the zoo observe impacts? Were sound-reducing barriers utilized? Did the zoo’s Ethics Committee evaluate all these factors before the decision to host many events was taken? 

Studies have indicated that increased visitors and noise or light levels at the zoo can have a negative impact on the welfare and stress levels of animals, particularly mammals. Research confirmed that events at zoos change the behaviour of animals and that animals, if allowed, choose from crowded and loud events, therefore zoos should at least conduct credible welfare assessments and follow all the steps to effectively mitigate impacts for every species affected.  

If the zoo has conducted all these assessments, would they be willing to publish the assessment results and impact analysis? If instead they were not conducted, the undersigned members of PREN are requesting that future events be urgently cancelled. 

[1] Greco BJ, Meehan CL, Hogan JN, Leighty KL, Mellen J, Mason G, Mench JAThe days and nights of zoo elephants: using epidemiology to   better understand stereotypic behavior of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in North American zoos. PLoS ONE 2016. doi: pone.0144276.

Haspeslagh et al 2013 A survey of foot problems, stereotypic behaviour and floor type in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in European zoos in Animal Welfare22(4):437-443 DOI:10.7120/09627286.22.4.437

Mason, G. J. 1991. Stereotypies and suffering. Behavioural Processes, 25(2-3), 103–115. https://doi.org/10.1016/0376-6357(91)90013-P

Kurt F & Garaï M. 2001. Stereotypies in captive Asian elephants- a symptom of social isolation. Scientific Progress Reports in: A Research Update of Elephants  and RhinosProceedings of the International Elephant and Rhino Research Symposium, Vienna June 7-11,2001. pp.57-63

Mason G. J. 1991. Stereotypies: a critical review. Animal Behaviour, 41:1015-1037

Romero LM. 2004. Physiological stress in ecology: lessons from biomedical research. TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution, 19(5):249-255

Bondi CO, Rodriguez G, Gould GG, Frazer A & Morilak DA. 2008. Chronic unpredictable stress induces a cognitive deficit and anxiety-like behavior in rats that is prevented by chronic antidepressant drug treatment. Neuropsychopharmacology, 33:320-331

©PREN 2023. All Rights Reserved.



The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa needs to ensure the well-being and welfare of all the animals in their care. If this basic requirement is achieved, the mission and vision of SANBI’s scientific goal of conservation, research and education can begin to be addressed.

According to scientific studies zoos negatively impact the well-being of the animals they house. This is due to inherent aspects such as unvarying husbandry routines (Lyons et al.,1997) and constantly exposing the animals to the public (Young, 2003, Davey 2006, Davey, 2007).

One obvious and significant stressor is the noise/sound environment in the zoo. From time to time zoo animals can be exposed to potentially intense noise, for example, noise arising from automated gardening equipment or maintenance activities. Studies have demonstrated that unnatural noise can elicit stress responses in animals, especially Elephants and that whilst animals in zoos can adapt to many noises that they hear on a regular basis, a noise that is intense or unpredictable may negatively impact the welfare and induce a chronic stress response.

The National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004) Minimum Standards for the Management of Captive Elephants, S4.22 suggests that Elephants are particularly sensitive to sound.

Noise pollution and sound pressure are increased with audience size, scientific studies analysed the behaviour of mammals at zoos and noted that zoo visitors, in general, have a negative welfare impact on individual zoo-housed mammals, especially groups of noisy visitors where levels were recorded outside of the recommended limits for human well-being.3 This study recommended that zoos needed to address this issue through a combination of visitor education campaigns and acoustic modification to enclosures.

Members of the Pro Elephant Network (PREN) have monitored the Pretoria Zoo closely since 2020, because of our interest in Charlie and our support for the negotiation process between the Honourable Minister, SANBI and the EMS Foundation, to release Charlie into a natural environment.

We have therefore taken note and recorded a rapid increase in the zoo facility being utilised as an organised music festival and party venue in 2023.

It is truly wonderful to see South Africans relaxing and enjoying themselves in a safe space and the Pretoria Zoo offers such a venue, however, we do not believe that animals, especially animals that are confined to enclosures should be forced to endure these festivities.

In 2015 the London Zoo was forced to shut down its alcohol-fuelled Friday night zoo parties because sources at the zoo were concerned at the impact of visitors’ rowdy behaviour on the animals. These revelations prompted a series of petitions signed by tens of thousands of people calling on the zoo to end the parties and an investigation by the Westminster council.

For your convenience, below we have highlighted a few of the recent events held at the Pretoria Zoo. We are extremely concerned with the location of Charlie’s enclosure with regard to the proximity of the parties.

The National Zoological Gardens is a Party Venue for Hire

Our research cannot provide the results of any scientific studies conducted on the negative effects on the well-being or welfare of the animals living at a zoo when amplified music is played over a nine-hour period. Quite obviously no such study has been carried out because wild animals should not be forced to endure such invasive and unnatural conditions.

Pretoria Zoo Women’s Day Party – 5th August 2023

The Woman’s Day party event started at 09H00 and ended at 20H00 and offered an exciting line-up of DJs. The entrance tickets were sold at Computicket, according to the promoters the event was sold out.

When studying all these images and videos, we fail to establish examples of SANBI’s mission to champion conservation or provide the enjoyment of South Africa’s rich biodiversity. SANBI’s mandate is primarily derived from NEMBA and includes managing the National Botanical and Zoological Gardens as windows to South Africa’s biodiversity for enjoyment and education.”

The zoo animals, especially Charlie the Elephant, whose enclosure is visible in some of the images, are confronted with a constant barrage of music. The noise is related to all the partygoers who are so obviously fuelled by alcohol. There will be additional noise pollution related to the set-up of these events and clean-up operations of the zoo after the events.

Read about the other events and see the images in the attached letter.


The undersigning members of PREN are deeply concerned about the impact these events are having on Charlie’s physical and psychological health, his sleeping patterns and his stress levels.

PREN is of the learned opinion that SANBI and the zoo management are not demonstrating adequate consideration for his welfare. A recognised scientific organisation should never condone the behaviour demonstrated in these videos and images.

We note that there are three further party events planned in September alone.

We have noted that the visitors are obviously not interested in the animals living at the zoo as there is not a single image of the animals amongst the images proudly splashed across various social media platforms.

No animal should be subjected to this type of continuous suffering and abuse. We are, quite frankly taken aback that the SANBI scientific community could possibly condone these activities in such close proximity to Charlie’s enclosure.

PREN 2023. All Rights Reserved.


The EMS Foundation and Shambala Private Game Reserve have announced that they have jointly submitted an “Expression of Interest” as requested by South African Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy and the South African National Biodiversity Institute.

Members of the Pro Elephant Network have supported the negotiation process initiated by the EMS Foundation with Minister Barbara Creecy since December 2020.

©Pro Elephant Network 2023. All Rights Reserved.

©Image Credit EMS Foundation February 2023.



The Members of the Pro Elephant Network (PREN) and the EMS Foundation have submitted Expert Assessment Reports of Charlie, the solitary elephant at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria, to the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy.

Charlie, is an African male elephant, who was born in Hwange National Park in 1982, was captured and exported to the Brian Boswell Circus in South Africa in 1984 and was sent to the National Zoological Gardens on the 30th of July 2001. 

The EMS Foundation and members of PREN have been in discussions with Minister Barbara Creecy since the 16th of December 2020, negotiating the very best retirement options for Charlie, based upon the recommendations of the most experienced elephant experts in the world. 

Charlie’s expert psychological and medical rehabilitation, his relocation to, and his reintegration into a protected natural environment would arrive at no cost to the South African Biodiversity Institute, the South African government, or the South African taxpayer. 

Charlie’s Behavioural Assessment Report was co-authored by Dr Marion Garai, Dr Keith Lindsay, Dr Toni Frohoff and Dr Joyce Poole. 

  • Dr Marion Garai is an Ethologist, a member of the IUCN SCC, chairperson of the South African Elephant Specialist Advisory Group  trustee of the Elephant Reintegration Trust.   
  • Dr Keith Lindsay is a Conservation Biologist and Environmental Consultant with over 40 years of professional experience, he is the author of the Solitary Elephants in Japan Report and co-author with Dr Rob Atkinson of a Report endorsed by 25 leading specialists which explains why expansive, diverse habitats are critical to keeping captive elephants physically and psychologically healthy.
  • Dr Toni Frohoff is an Ethologist and Behavioural Biologist with thirty years of experience.  Dr Frohoff is the Founder and the Science Director for TerraMar Research.
  • Dr Joyce Poole is an Elephant Behaviour Specialist, the Co-Founder and Co-Director of ElephantVoices. Dr Poole has studied the social behavior and communication of elephants for over forty years. Dr Poole has dedicated her life to the conservation of elephants and their welfare.  

Charlie’s Medical Assessment Report was co-authored by Professor Dr Thomas Hildebrandt, Dr Frank Goeritz Dr Amir Khalil and Dr Mariana Ivanova, and under the supervision of South African veterinarian Dr Brett Bard.

This specialized, expert medical team were responsible for the rehabilitation, relocation, and initial phases of integration of Kaavan, once called the loneliest elephant in world. This team have also recently treated the four African elephants in the Karachi Zoo and Safari Parks who conducting lifesaving, unique and complicated surgeries from which all four elephants have recovered. Dr Brett Bard is a South African veterinarian, practicing in the Karoo in the Western Cape.

The Members of PREN and the EMS Foundation are looking forward to receiving Minister Creecy’s earliest response and engaging on this matter further with her so that the recommendations made by the experts can be fulfilled in the best interests of Charlie. 

We would like to take this opportunity to warmly and gratefully thank all the experts who have so generously participated in these important assessment processes. 

Image Credit: Charlie at the Pretoria Zoo, South Africa, 01.03.2023

©The Pro Elephant Network 2023. All Rights Reserved.


The Members of the Pro Elephant Network have supported the EMS Foundation during their nineteenth month transparent process of negotiation with Minister Barbara Creecy and representatives from the South African National Biodiversity Institute with regards to seeking the best possible future options for Charlie, the solitary bull elephant at the Pretoria zoo in South Africa.

We highly commend the forward thinking decision of Minister Creecy and SANBI to retire Charlie from the Pretoria zoo, a decision which was announced today, 29th of July 2022.

We will continue to offer our extensive expertise during this ongoing process, in order to make sure that all the correct decisions are reached for Charlie.

Image Credit: EMS Foundation November 2021

©Pro Elephant Network 2022. All Rights Reserved.


27th April 2022



The Members of the Pro Elephant Network wish to publicly confirm that on Friday 21st April 2022 they received a formal invitation from Barbara Creecy, the Minister for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment to assemble a team of Elephant experts to assess the mental and physical health and well-being of Charlie the Elephant living at the Pretoria Zoo in South Africa.

Minister Creecy has, furthermore, given the assurance that she has provided the Chairperson of the South African Biodiversity Institute the authority to provide access to Charlie.

The Members of PREN wish to publicly express their gratitude to Minister Creecy for supporting their initiative to provide Charlie the opportunity of the best available expertise.

Arrangements are currently underway to assemble a team with the appropriate competencies to carry out this complex evaluation.

Stefania Falcon
PREN Coordinator 

Image Credit: EMS Foundation November 2021

©The Pro Elephant Network 2022. All Rights Reserved.


13th April 2022

The Co-ordinator of PREN has, today, addressed an open letter to the Honourable Minister, Barbara Creecy of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, the letter was also addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the letter was addressed to the Executive Director of the National Zoological Gardens.



The Pro Elephant Network (PREN) as an international community of diverse individuals and organizations, comprising specific expertise, on wild and captive African and Asian elephants, including the fields of science, health, conservation, welfare, economics, community leadership, social justice and the law, has been respectively engaging with the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and meeting with SANBI, since December 2020. 

On the 16th December 2020 members of PREN alerted the Honourable Minister to their concerns regarding the mental and physical well-being and welfare of Charlie, the bull elephant at the Pretoria Zoo. 

PREN members have subsequently repeatedly requested that Charlie undergo an assessment by independent, renown elephant experts and, if the results of the assessments are in favour, that he be allowed to follow a rehabilitation program for reintegration in a more suitable natural environment, in collaboration with the Zoo and the EMS Foundation, a Member of PREN. 

We are aware of the arduous and fruitless engagement process that took place between the EMS Foundation and SANBI representatives during 2021.  

PREN fully endorses the actions of the EMS Foundation which includes the public statement of the 7th of April  2022. 

PREN hereby formally requests once again that the South African Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and SANBI, grant access to Charlie in order for an urgent, independent veterinary and behavioural assessment to be carried out.  

We remain concerned for Charlie’s physical and mental well-being.  

The following Pro Elephant Network Members signed in support of this open letter:

Owais Awan                              Advocate High Court, Islamabad

Suparna Baksi-Ganguly              President and Co-Founder, Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Center, Bangalore, India

Dr Brett Bard                             Veterinarian, South Africa 

Dr Jessica Bell Rizzolo               Postdoctoral Researcher, the Conservation Criminology Lab, Dep of Fisheries and  Wildlife, Michigan State University

Janey Clegg                              Committee Member, SPCA Mutare, Zimbabwe

Professor David Bilchitz             Director, South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public and Human Rights and International Law – South Africa 

Megan Carr                               Founder, Rhinos in Africa  

Lenin Chisaira                           Founder, Advocates 4 Earth – Green Law Connect, Zimbabwe

Dr Betsy Coville                          Exotic / Wildlife Animal Veterinarian 

Dr Harvey Croze                        DPhil (Oxon) Collaborating Researcher – Amboseli Trust for Elephants – Kenya 

Nomusa Dube                           Founder, Zimbabwe Elephant Foundation

David Ebert                               Advocate, Founder Director of The Animal Defense Partnership – USA

Stefania Falcon                         Co-Founder, Future 4 Wildlife – South Africa 

Daniela Freyer                           Co-Founder, Pro Wildlife, Germany

Michele Franko                          Captive Elephant Caregiver and Advocate – USA

Chief Stephen Fritz                    Indigenous Leader, South Peninsula Khoi Council – South Africa 

Dr Toni Frohoff                          Ethologist and Behavioral Biologist, Founder of TerraMar Research  

Dr Marion E. Garai                     Elephant Behaviour Specialist – South Africa 

Dr Ross Harvey                         Environmental Economist, Botswana   

Heike Henderson-Altenstein       Director, Future for Elephants e.V. 

Alok Hisarwala Gupta                 Lawyer, Animal Law – India 

Iris Ho                                       Head of Policy – Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA)

Peter Hodgskin                          Founder, Hands-off Fernkloof, South Africa 

Sangita Iyer                               B.Sc., M.A., Founder of Voice for Asian Elephants Society, Nat Geo Explorer and  Wildlife Filmmaker

Lynne James                             Independent, Elephant Conservation,  Zimbabwe

Dr Mark Jones                           Veterinarian, Born Free Foundation – UK

David Kabambo                         Founder Director of Peace for Conservation – Wildlife Management – Tanzania

Dr Paula Kahumbu                    WildlifeDirect, Kenya  

Professor Mohan Kharel             Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal

Nuria Maldonado                       Ecologist, Environmental Science, Max Plank Institute

Jim Karani                                 Advocate, Lawyers for Animal Protection in Africa – Kenya 

Dr Winnie Kiiru                          Founder, Conservation Kenya

Brigitte Kornetzky                      President and Founder of Elefanten in Not  – Switzerland / India 

Professor Bob Jacobs                Neuroscience Researcher – Colorado College – USA

Kahindi Lekalhaile                      Africa Network for Animal Welfare, Kenya 

Dr Smaragda Louw                    Director, Ban Animal Trading, South Africa 

Dr Keith Lindsay                        Conservation Biologist, Amboseli Trust for Elephants – Kenya; Fondation Franz Weber

Giorgio Lombardi                       Warden Vogelgat Private Nature Reserve, South Africa 

Linda Masudze                          Advocate 4 Earth, Zimbabwe 

Varda Mehrotra                         Environmentalist, Climate Crisis Researcher – India  

Dr Nurzhafarina Binti Othman     Founder: Seratu Aatai, Elephant Conservation and Research Coordinator at HUTAN-KOCP  – Malaysia 

Sharon Pincott                           Elephant Behavioural Specialist, ex-Hwange, Zimbabwe  

Bharati Ramachandran              CEO of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations – India

Ian Redmond OBE                     Founder, African Ele-Fund and Elefriends Campaign, Chairman of Ape Alliance and Co-founder of Rebalance Earth  

Ingo Schmidinger                       Elephant Husbandry – Co-Founder iScapes 

Dr Jan Schmidt-Burbach            Veterinarian, Head of Wildlife Research and Animal Welfare, World Animal Protection International

Dr DJ Schubert                          Wildlife Biologist, Animal Welfare Institute – USA 

Dr Liz Tyson                              Animal Welfare Law, Programs Director  – Born Free USA 

Antoinette Van de Water            Director, Bring the Elephant Home, South Africa  

Vasanthi Vadi                            Trustee of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations – India 

Prof Dan Wylie                          Rhodes University, South Africa 

Image Credit: EMS Foundation November 2021

©The Pro Elephant Network 2022. All Rights Reserved.



Member of the Pro Elephant Network welcome a Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Draft Policy Position which has a broad vision of “secured, restored and rewilded natural landscapes with thriving populations of elephant, lion, rhino and leopard as indicators for a vibrant, responsible, inclusive, transformed and sustainable wildlife sector and an equitable society living in harmony with natural resources.”

The Pro Elephant Network members strongly and specifically support a phase-out of captive elephants in South African zoos, with the proviso that all due-care must be provided to elephants currently in captivity. The PREN elephant specialists would be happy to work with the South African authorities to identify the most appropriate solutions for these elephants.

IMAGE CREDIT: Dr Smaragda Louw Ban Animal Trading Johannesburg Zoo 28th July 2021

© Copyright Pro Elephant Network 2021. All rights reserved.


A Brief History of the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa Prepared for the Pro Elephant Network


The Transvaal National Museum of Natural History, now known as the Ditsong Museum, was founded on the 1st December 1892. 

Dr J.W.B. Gunning was appointed as the director in 1897. 

The Museum holds large collections of mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates the Museum is located in central Pretoria, the capital of South Africa. 

A comprehensive series of educational programmes is offered to schools and students in a various South African languages.

Elephant exhibits at Ditsong Museum of Natural History, Pretoria  IMAGE CREDIT Getty Images

Gunning acted as the keeper of mammalian and ornithological collections. 

A collection of live animals acquired by Gunning were kept in the garden at the back of the Museum, these live animals formed the nucleus of the Transvaal Zoological Gardens which then developed into Pretoria’s National Zoological Gardens.