Animal cruelty charges have been laid against an elephant sanctuary in the Eastern Cape over alleged cruelty, the NSPCA said on Monday.
The charges were laid against Elephants of Eden, its directors, and management, said inspector Wendy Wilson of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
"This [was\ necessary after the NSPCA received horrific footage depicting the cruel and abusive training methods employed to control and train baby and young elephants."
She said the footage showed elephant calves and juveniles being chained, roped, and stretched, shocked with cattle prods, and hit with bull hooks.
"The elephants show signs of crippling injuries with severely swollen legs and feet, debilitating abscesses, and wounds resulting from the abusive use of ropes, chains, and bull hooks," said Wilson.
"The calculated and premeditated cruelty of this nature that took place at this facility is a far cry from the loving sanctuary image... it likes to portray."
She said the footage was taken on the premises of Elephants of Eden. It is described as a safe haven for elephants and owned by the same entity that owns the Knysna Elephant Park.
Wilson said when the NSPCA attempted to inspect the facility, it was denied entry.
"We were obliged to obtain assistance from the police in order to effect [a\ warrant."
Wilson said the NSPCA was only allowed entry when the owner was informed that refusal could lead to her arrest. The NSPCA also laid a charge of obstruction of justice against the owner.