Watch video: Spaceless In Seattle Watch video: Spaceless in Seattle write City Council sign the petition donate volunteer

Read our top stories:

Help wild elephant and rhinos: sign petition and donate

Sign up for action alerts and updates

There is no good reason to keep elephants at WPZ (PDF)

Updates

Response to Woodland Park Zoo’s scheme to send Bamboo and Chai to another zoo

Sri at St. Louis Zoo

Sri in her cage at the St. Louis Zoo. This is where Woodland Park Zoo sent her.

Woodland Park Zoo announced it would be closing the elephant exhibit. We commend them for taking this action as the exhibit is inadequate and our climate is unsuitable for elephants. That’s the good news. Unfortunately they want to send Bamboo and Chai, the two surviving elephants, to another zoo. This is not commendable nor is it in the elephants’ best interest.

Bamboo and Chai have lived in a tiny zoo display since they were taken from their mothers as babies. They deserve space and peace in a sanctuary—in a warm climate.

Once Bamboo and Chai leave Seattle, we will have no ability to control what happens to them. They could be moved again, and again. Moving elephants around like furniture is not uncommon in the zoo industry.

Deborah Jensen, President and CEO of Woodland Park Zoo said that Bamboo and Chai would be “relocated together to an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facility that shares our commitment to animal health and welfare and conservation through education, and provides viewing access to the animals.”

Deborah Jensen is obviously not aware that PAWS Arc 2000 sanctuary in California engages in conservation and education. PAWS’ commitment to the health and welfare of the elephants in their charge is obviously greater than Woodland Park Zoo’s since PAWS monitors their elephants 24/7. We are not aware of a single zoo that monitors elephants 24/7. Had Watoto, who the Zoo euthanized in August, been monitored she might be alive today.

PAWS has a fundamental difference in philosophy about allowing animals to be viewed. Once an animal lives at PAWS, their life is given back to them and they no longer live on display.

The Mayor and City Council have the authority to approve or disapprove the disposition of the animals in the zoo. We are asking that they use their authority to require that Bamboo and Chai go to a facility accredited by the Global Federation of Sanctuaries like PAWS—anything less goes against science and their constituents’ values.

http://www.freewpzelephants.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/st_louis_zoo_sri.jpgDigg ThisShare via email
Share on Facebook+1Share on LinkedInShare on MyspacePin it on PinterestSubmit to redditSubmit to StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Twitter

Woodland Park Zoo is in Violation of Federal Regulation over Elephant Care

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 3, 2014 (Seattle, WA) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has determined that Woodland Park Zoo is in violation of an Animal Welfare Act (AWA) provision regulating the housing of elephants outdoors.

According to a September 9, 2014 inspection report, the USDA found evidence that the Zoo violated the AWA by failing to ensure that elephants have “access to shelter during inclement weather to afford them protection and to prevent their discomfort.” With this violation, the Zoo has violated a provision of the Operating Agreement with the City of Seattle, which requires that the Zoo “shall care for all Zoo Animals in accordance with all federal, state and local laws and regulations.”

The inspection report notes that Zoo staff acknowledged that elephants are routinely locked outside without access to shelter during rain. The report also calls attention to the inadequate and dysfunctional configuration of the Zoo’s elephant exhibit, stating that “only one elephant at a time may be offered access to both the barn and the outdoor enclosure.” As a result, one elephant is locked in a cage in the barn in solitary confinement and one elephant is locked outside—both up to 17 hours a day.

According to the USDA report, Zoo staff stated that they intend to build a rain shelter in a year—two years after the Zoo’s own self-appointed Task Force recommended minimal improvements to the Zoo’s elephant exhibit, which included the addition of rain/wind shelters to protect the elephants from our unsuitable climate.

It is egregious and inconceivable that the Zoo has failed to take even the most minimal precaution to protect elephants from the obvious challenge of captivity in Seattle’s climate:  rain. This violation demonstrates that the Zoo is ill-equipped and lacks commitment to housing elephants in a manner that meets the most basic standards of welfare.

“Given the increased public scrutiny on the Zoo’s elephant program and the recent death of Watoto, the Zoo’s failure to prevent the discomfort of its elephants without USDA intervention is shocking,” said Alyne Fortgang, co-founder of Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants. “Now that Woodland Park Zoo has violated the AWA and breached the terms of its contract with the City, the City Council must exercise its authority to ensure that Bamboo and Chai are retired to a sanctuary immediately.”

Read the USDA inspection report here

Save on DeliciousDigg ThisShare via email
Share on Facebook+1Share on LinkedInShare on MyspacePin it on PinterestSubmit to redditSubmit to StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Twitter

Bob Barker asks Seattle and WPZ to retire their surviving elephants

Download Bob Barker’s letter to the City of Seattle and Woodland Park Zoo

September 30, 2014

Dear Mayor Murray, Council Members and Dr. Jensen,

I have devoted much of my time to helping animals and have been an advocate for releasing elephants to sanctuaries for many years. In October of last year, the three elephants from the Toronto Zoo were successfully retired to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). As you may be aware, PAWS provides elephants with space to walk, forage, swim and live their lives to the fullest.

Chai and Bamboo in Seattle have a similar poor quality of life as the elephants had in Toronto. (Sadly, Watoto died before she could have a single day in a sanctuary.)  Like Toronto, Seattle’s elephants only have about an acre yard. Toronto Zoo’s elephant barn was 4 times larger than the barn at Woodland Park Zoo yet Toronto’s City Council and Zoo Board felt it was not large enough.

Seattle’s wet and cold climate forces these highly intelligent animals to be locked up in tiny cages in the barn.  This 16 – 17 hours of daily confinement lasts for over half of the year.  The conditions in which your elephants live are physically and psychologically damaging to these far ranging animals who are genetically wired to move great distances.

No matter how many millions of tax payer dollars Woodland Park Zoo and the City of Seattle spend on improving the elephant exhibit, the Zoo is landlocked and can never provide the amount of space these giants need.  The Zoo cannot change the climate that causes the prolonged lock up.

Retiring the elephants and creating a non-live exhibit would make more sense; freeing up money to save elephants in the wild.

I’m asking Seattle’s Mayor, City Council and Woodland Park Zoo’s management to make the humane decision to retire Bamboo and Chai to PAWS.

Sincerely,

BobBarkerSig

Bob Barker
Cc: Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants

http://www.freewpzelephants.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/BobBarkerSig.pngDigg ThisShare via email
Share on Facebook+1Share on LinkedInShare on MyspacePin it on PinterestSubmit to redditSubmit to StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Twitter

Editorial: Learn from the death of zoo elephant Watoto, move remaining elephants

From the Seattle Times, an editorial on the tragic death of Watoto. Here is an excerpt:

A NUMBER of lessons should be drawn from the investigation into the death of Watoto the elephant. Among them: Chai and Bamboo, the two surviving females in the Woodland Park Zoo’s pachyderm exhibit, deserve to live out their days in a warm and spacious sanctuary.

Spare these two beloved creatures the pain Watoto suffered before she was euthanized on Aug. 22.

Zoo officials say they do not know whether the 45-year-old African elephant lay down or fell. But chronic arthritis in Watoto’s leg joints likely rendered her unable to stand back up, according to Woodland Park’s director of animal health, Dr. Darin Collins.

The city should remove Chai and Bamboo from captivity as soon as possible. The zoo should also reveal how long Watoto was down, as well as why records indicate no one checked on the exhibit in the hours leading up to her collapse.

Had she been found sooner, she might have stood a chance of survival — at least this time.

Read the full editorial and leave a comment on the Seattle Times site

Save on DeliciousDigg ThisShare via email
Share on Facebook+1Share on LinkedInShare on MyspacePin it on PinterestSubmit to redditSubmit to StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Twitter

Zoo Captivity and Lack of Monitoring are to Blame for Watoto’s Premature Death

For Immediate Release

Watoto kept in solitary confinement

Watoto, 1969 – 2014

Woodland Park Zoo’s admission yesterday that Watoto, an elephant who died on August 22, 2014 after she was found down in the morning, confirmed in part what we already knew: Watoto died from chronic health issues caused by zoo confinement, most notably debilitating arthritis. But the Zoo raised more questions than it answered and continues to ignore two critical questions: How long was Watoto down and who, if anyone, monitored the elephant exhibit the night and morning of Watoto’s death?

The Zoo’s medical records showed steady deterioration in Watoto’s arthritic and lame condition. The Zoo’s records state “chronic reduced range of motion” and “increased lameness.” The lameness had gotten so extreme that she was taken off display for a time prior to July 21st, 2014. Arthritis and lameness in elephants confined in zoos is directly related to their environment and among the leading causes of premature death. Watoto was forced to stand on hard substrates during prolonged lock up in the barn and on unyielding compacted ground outdoors.

Records obtained by Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants confirm that nighttime security did not visit the elephant exhibit the evening and morning of August 21 and 22. Security staff made rounds which included patrols of the parking lots, gates, fences, the carousel, the rose garden, and furnace with no visit to the elephant exhibit.

This means that Watoto could have been down for at least eight hours before keepers discovered her the morning of the 22nd. The Zoo acknowledged that it can be life-threatening for an elephant to be lying down for an extended period of time. Why did the Zoo fail to provide overnight monitoring to an elephant known to suffer from chronic lameness, which put her at risk of falling down or increased her inability to rise on her own?

Despite Watoto’s decline and the grave consequences associated with a fall, Woodland Park Zoo’s Elephant Management Protocol does not include any plan to manage emergencies involving its elephants; even emergencies as common in the zoo industry as elephant falls.

Attempts to raise Watoto the morning of the 22nd with cloth straps and machinery were unsuccessful. While the Zoo took “several hourly blood draws,” it never called the fire department to attempt to raise her. Elephants in similar deadly predicaments in zoos have successfully been raised with fire department equipment, as was the case with Maggie in Alaska, who went down twice. Maggie is now thriving at the PAWS sanctuary in California.

“If the zoo had adequate monitoring in place or called in the fire department to raise Watoto, she might be alive today” says Alyne Fortgang, Co-founder of Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants.

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo urges Mayor Murray, the Seattle City Council and the Woodland Park Zoological Society to immediately retire the two surviving elephants, Chai and Bamboo to a sanctuary. At a sanctuary they can experience what was denied to Watoto: the opportunity to heal from the physical and psychological damage caused by captivity and the chance to live a long life in a warm climate on vast acreage.

http://www.freewpzelephants.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Watoto_pacing_solitary_confinement-300x225.jpgDigg ThisShare via email
Share on Facebook+1Share on LinkedInShare on MyspacePin it on PinterestSubmit to redditSubmit to StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Twitter

Seattle’s Global March for Elephants and Rhinos

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants was one of the sponsors of Seattle’s Global March for Elephants and Rhinos. We joined about 130 cities worldwide to bring awareness to the poaching crisis with may cause the extinction of these species within our lifetime. Please sign the petition and donate to the organizations listed. It is through their worthy and perilous efforts that these animals will be saved.

Check out the article and great photos on Rescue News about the event

Save on DeliciousDigg ThisShare via email
Share on Facebook+1Share on LinkedInShare on MyspacePin it on PinterestSubmit to redditSubmit to StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Twitter

Article: The logical fallacy of zoo elephant captivity and conservation

From LivingHumane.com by Christie Legally:

WPZ elephants in the barn

WPZ elephants in the barn

I recently read a letter in the Seattle Times from a reader who believed the elephants at Woodland Park Zoo should remain there, rather than be retired to a sanctuary, so that these elephants can make people aware of conservation efforts needed for wild elephants.  (See letter “Keep the Exhibit.”)

It is a logical fallacy to state that keeping elephants in zoos promotes conservation of wild elephants. This claim creates a false relationship between captivity and conservation so as to assume that one can influence the other.

Not only has this relationship been shown to be incorrect by sociological research (reference), but this statement is like saying that we can fight crime in New York City by planting flowers in Seattle.  To stop the poaching of wild elephants in Africa and Asia, we must address the direct issues that lead to poaching such as poverty and the ivory trade.

Both poaching and captivity of elephants in zoos and circus are crimes against elephants.  To state that the latter prevents the former is like saying that being robbed by a stranger prevents you from being assaulted by a stranger.  Crimes against elephants must be dealt with at the source in Africa, Asia and Seattle.

http://www.freewpzelephants.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/WPZ_elephants-cropped-700x352-300x150.jpgDigg ThisShare via email
Share on Facebook+1Share on LinkedInShare on MyspacePin it on PinterestSubmit to redditSubmit to StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Twitter

Help wild elephant and rhinos: sign petition and donate

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants has worked tirelessly to give Seattle’s elephants Bamboo, Chai and Watoto a much deserved retirement to sanctuary after decades of confinement at Woodland Park Zoo. Sadly, Watoto died before this could happen.

Although our cause is local, we have never lost sight of the growing crisis of elephants worldwide who die young due to the poaching crisis of unequaled savagery and consequence. But let’s not forget that elephants confined in zoos die young as well: Watoto was only 45 years old.

We are asking that you help elephants and rhinos in the wild who are in danger of imminent extinction. Please help the anti-poaching efforts of these extraordinary organizations by donating to their worthy and perilous efforts:

Big Life: https://biglife.org
African Wildlife Fund: http://www.awf.org
Save the Elephants: http://savetheelephants.org
Wild Aid: Working in China to stop demand. http://www.wildaid.org
Endangered Species Protection Fund: http://www.espfund.org

Sign this petition to help:
Born Free PETITION: http://www.bloodyivory.org/petition

From African Wildlife Foundation’s web site:

Rhinos: In the wild, the adult black or white rhino has no predators except for humans. Rhinos are hunted and killed for their horns. One rhino is killed every 20 hours in South Africa alone. The major demand for rhino horn is in Asia, where it is used in ornamental carvings and traditional medicine. Rhino horn is touted as a cure for hangovers, cancer, and impotence. Their horns are not true horns; they are actually made of keratin—the same material that makes up our hair and nails. Truly, rhino horn is as effective at curing cancer as chewing on your fingernails.

Elephants: The large tusks on either side of the elephant’s face—used to forage for food and water—have long been desired by people. Poachers kill elephants for their ivory, which is then sold and made into anything from jewelry to religious objects. About 100 elephants are killed every day. At current poaching rates, elephant populations may not survive 10 years in the wild.

Save on DeliciousDigg ThisShare via email
Share on Facebook+1Share on LinkedInShare on MyspacePin it on PinterestSubmit to redditSubmit to StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Twitter

Heartfelt plea to Portland Metro Council in Watoto’s memory

YouTube Preview Image
Save on DeliciousDigg ThisShare via email
Share on Facebook+1Share on LinkedInShare on MyspacePin it on PinterestSubmit to redditSubmit to StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Twitter

Action Alert: Show City Council your commitment to retiring the two surviving elephants

Elephant advocates at City Council

Elephant advocates at a previous City Council

What: A showing of commitment at the FULL Council meeting. Kids are encouraged to come.

When: Monday, September 22, at 1:30pm

Where: Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

Meet at 1:30pm in front of City Hall at the 4th and Cherry entrance. We will head up to the City Hall chambers on the second floor at 1:45pm to attend the 2pm City Council meeting.

FREE: t-shirts provided with the message: Seattle ♥ Elephants ♥ Sanctuary

Please reply to let us know you if you will be wearing an orange t-shirt from a previous event or if we need to order one for you.

http://www.freewpzelephants.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Watoto_seattle_city_council-300x199.jpgDigg ThisShare via email
Share on Facebook+1Share on LinkedInShare on MyspacePin it on PinterestSubmit to redditSubmit to StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Twitter

Next Page »