"It's unconscionable," says Alyne Fortgang of Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants. "There are no words and we hope that the mayor and city council will step up on behalf of the people and pass a resolution to send the elephants to sanctuary."
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Open letter to King County Councilmember Larry Phillips regarding Bamboo and Chai, the elephants on exhibit at Woodland Park Zoo.
Earlier this afternoon Woodland Park Zoo announced that its only African elephant, Watoto, had been euthanized.
On Saturday, June 7th, several dozen supporters of Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants gathered at the Zoo's west entrance under the mid-morning sun of a beautiful spring day to hold a silent vigil in memory of the seventh anniversary of the death of baby elephant Hansa.
"It's gotten to the point where the Zoo can no longer ignore the science of elephants, and they can't ignore public opinion. And at this point, they can no longer ignore the media. The time has come for the Zoo to finally take care of the problem and let the elephants go." -Alyne Fortgang
It is time for Woodland Park Zoo to come out of the Dark Ages and join the rest of us in recognizing that elephants do not belong in zoos, that elephants in zoos do not add to the cause of conservation nor are elephant exhibits an act of conservation, and that they're not fooling anyone by claiming otherwise.
"The Task Force consists primarily of lay people with little to no prior expertise regarding the Earth's largest terrestrial animal." Excerpt from the Final Report of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephant Task Force.
"Much of what we've talked about this evening, and much of what we've talked about at previous meetings, is really from the Zoo's perspective. I would think that one of the most powerful ways to further [the Zoo's mission statement regarding] education is by not losing sight of the fact that we are also talking about particular animals at the Zoo currently in an exhibit that is arguably inadequate." -Annette Laico (Woodland Park Zoo Elephant Task Force Member).
Four slides showing the dramatically different amounts of space available to Watato, Bamboo, and Chai at Woodland Park Zoo versus what would be available for them at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennesee. For decades these three elephants have had only the same tiny one-acre unchanged exhibit to call home. At The Elephant Sanctuary they would have 2,700 acres.
If Woodland Park Zoo President Deborah Jensen is to be believed, the Zoo and its elephant exhibit are all that stand between wild elephants surviving as a species and their ultimate extinction. Because to save them we must enslave them.