Sad day as Jenny the bear is put down

Jenny the bear, whose condition sparked public outrage.
Jenny the bear, whose condition sparked public outrage.  Image: via Facebook

Jenny, the 35-year-old East London Zoo brown bear, has been put down.

This was confirmed by BCM spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya on Wednesday.

There was public outrage and calls for the zoo to be shut down earlier in 2018 after photographs of poorly-looking Jenny and her daughter, Gina, circulated on social media.

An online petition, hosted on, had by Wednesday amassed 25,530 signatures.

Ngwenya said: “Jenny was an old female brown bear that has been at the East London Zoo for around 35 years and lived with Gina, who is her daughter, of around 30 years old.

“At the end of last week, the [zoo] staff noticed that Jenny was struggling to walk with the normal strength that she has, and on Sunday they found her unable to use her hind legs.

“Veterinary assistance was called in and she was treated for paralysis and given precautionary pain medication even though she didn’t indicate any signs of obvious discomfort.

“This was a very tough day for zoo staff and all those that assisted.

“She continued to eat and drink well while she was observed over the next 24 hours.

“Due to the limited improvement overnight and her size, as a large animal, and age, it was collectively agreed that she needed to be euthanised.

“During her time at the zoo, she has never had any health issues and continued vet reports over the years have confirmed her to be in satisfactory physical and mental health for her age.

“We will closely monitor Gina to ensure that she is not negatively affected by the loss of her mom and companion, and we are already working closely with national and international zoos on any similar situations as this, so that we can have an informed process going forward with Gina.

“The [postmortem] results indicated chronic degenerated spinal changes which are most likely associated with old age,” Ngwenya said.

-Tyler Riddin


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