Today is very sad day. Watoto was euthanized. She died without ever having had a good day.
Watoto’s life must not be in vain. Bamboo and Chai must find peace and health in a sanctuary.
Watoto was discovered down when the keepers arrived this morning. Unable to get her up, the Zoo’s staff decided to euthanize her. This brings up many questions: why aren’t the elephants monitored 24/7 as they are at the sanctuaries? What are the zoo’s policies for a downed elephant? Do they have adequate equipment to lift an elephant?
Watoto was only 45 years old. In the wild, she would have been in the prime of her life; still bearing calves. Confinement in a zoo takes a physical and psychological toll on these far-ranging and intelligent animals. The zoo industry’s own statistics show that elephants die young.
Woodland Park Zoo denied Watoto of one her greatest needs–companionship of her own kind. After being ripped from her mother in Africa as a baby, Watoto never set eyes on another African elephant. The zoo also denied Watoto the opportunity to spend her remaining years in a sanctuary.
Watoto in the yard at WPZ
Watoto suffered from a host of chronic captivity-related diseases as a result of living her entire life in the cramped quarters of Woodland Park Zoo.
Woodland Park Zoo is an exceptionally poor environment. The elephants are locked outdoors in less than 1 acre. Indoors, the elephants are locked in barren cages, standing on hard substrate and only able to walk a few steps in any direction. This lockup, due to our climate, lasts 16-17 hours a day, every day, for over half of the year. Scientific American describes this as: “tortuous conditions [which] inflict serious physical and psychological damage on such smart and sensitive animals.”
We hope that Watoto’s suffering and death will not be in vain. We are very grateful for Seattle’s Mayor Murray’s statement that we should “reopen a dialogue in this city about the proper habitat for elephants.” We need him to go farther: Bamboo and Chai need to retire to a sanctuary.
Please write to ask the Mayor and the City Council to order the zoo to release Bamboo and Chai to a sanctuary. They have the authority.
Ed.email@example.com, Jean.Godden@seattle.gov,Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov, Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov, Sally.Clark@seattle.gov, Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov, Nick.Licata@seattle.gov, Tom.Rasmussen@seattle.gov, Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov, Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov
Click here for the Zoo’s press release.
Vigil Saturday at Noon
We will have hold a vigil/ peaceful demonstration at the street entrance to Woodland Park Zoo’s south entrance tomorrow at noon.
What: Vigil for beautiful Watoto
When: Saturday, August 23, 2014 at noon
Where: Street entrance to the Zoo’s south entrance at N. 50th and Fremont Ave. N.
Rest in peace, Watoto.