Of Interest:

Due Diligence report Options for Chai and Bamboo

Optimal Future for Woodland Park Zoo Elephants

What you can do

Updates

Ask WPZ donors to be a force for good

Please take a moment to click and send an email to donors of Woodland Park Zoo. We are simply asking them to ask the Zoo to send Bamboo and Chai to a sanctuary. Among the list of donors are: Alaska Airlines, Costco, Safeco, PCC, Cornish College, and Vulcan.

They need to hear from YOU. Please help us send thousands of emails to those who have financial influence over the Zoo.

Click and send form: http://www.freewpzelephants.org/letter

Action Alert: Send a Valentine to Seattle’s Mayor and City Council!

Valentine Card

Send this Valentine’s Day card to Seattle’s Mayor and City Council

Celebrate Valentine’s Day by sharing a message of compassion for WPZ’s 2 surviving elephants with Seattle’s Mayor and City Council!

Use our simple form to send a link to this Valentine’s Day message from Bamboo and Chai.

Click here to send the card and make your voice heard on behalf of the Woodland Park Zoo elephants.

Action Alert: Vanpool to Olympia to support HB 1425

A van is headed to Olympia on Feb. 5th filled with elephant advocates to support passage of historic legislation that will help animals.

This legislation would require organizations, like Woodland Park Zoo, which take tax payer dollars to be subject to the Open Records and Open Meetings Act of Washington State. Review bill HB 1425 here.

Title of this bill: Ensuring that entities performing government functions and advisory committees are subject to the open public meetings act and public records act.

WHAT: Hearing that allows public comment to support HB 1425
VAN-POOLING: A large van will meet at the SE corner of the Northgate Mall’s parking
lot in front of Red Robin Restaurant. Easy mall parking.
WHEN: February 5th at 11:15 AM (for 1:30 hearing).
If you’re driving, please arrive at 1:15.
WHERE: WA State Capital, Olympia, WA.
John L. O’Brien Building, 504 15th Ave. SW, Olympia, WA 98504.
Hearing Room E.
WEAR: Orange! Small TRANSPARENCY signs will be provided to pin to your
clothes.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please, email us if you’re coming so we know what size vehicle to pay for. WPZelephants@yahoo.com If you need to cancel, let us know!

Due Diligence Report: Options for Chai and Bamboo

Zoocheck, an organization that has assessed the housing and husbandry of captive wildlife for 20 years, delivered a report recently to Seattle’s Mayor and City Council. This exhaustive report, Due Diligence Report: Options for Chai and Bamboo, examines all Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) accredited facilities in the U.S. that hold Asian elephants. Link to report below.

Chai in barn stall

Chai

Our review of this report’s findings shows that none of these AZA-accredited zoos exceeds the conditions found at Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ). The report validates what Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants has asserted for years: only a GFAS accredited sanctuary can provide Bamboo and Chai with care for the rest of their lives in an environment that will allow them to heal from the harm caused by their lifelong zoo confinement. Science and the zoo industry’s own statistics shows that elephants in zoos die young and suffer from captivity-induced conditions.

Bamboo

Bamboo

None of these zoos can give Bamboo and Chai more space per elephant than they have now. None can provide open space or pastures for foraging. Many of these zoos are in cold climates that would force them to be locked up in a tiny, barren barn stall longer than they are now. All appear to have hardpan ground and hard barn floors. About a third of these zoos still use the bullhook, an archaic method of managing elephants through pain and fear. This is important to know because if Bamboo or Chai don’t integrate with other elephants in a zoo, or for any reason, they can be moved to a decrepit zoo.

One only needs to look at Watoto’s death to understand what happens to an elephant confined in atiny zoo display. When her keepers came to work on the morning of August 21st, 2014 they found her down. Her advanced arthritis and lameness caused by a lifetime of standing on hard substrates, and a lifetime of lack of movement, made her so debilitated that she couldn’t raise herself. As is the case in most, if not all zoos, Woodland Park Zoo does not have 24/7 monitoring. (The Elephant Sanctuary in TN and PAWS in CA both have 24/7 monitoring.) If Watoto had been found sooner and if the Fire Department with a crane had been called in, she might be alive today.

Check out this video on the issue of sending WPZ’s surviving elephants to a sanctuary vs. another zoo

We hope Woodland Park Zoo management and the Zoo Board will not allow Bamboo and Chai to suffer and die the same fate as Watoto.

We hope they will study this Due Diligence Report and have empathy for these intelligent, far-ranging elephants. This means choosing a sanctuary for Bamboo and Chai’s retirement from beingon display. Let’s not allow Bamboo and Chai to suffer and die without ever having roamed the wooded acres of a sanctuary. Let’s keep the pressure on Seattle’s Mayor and City Council to use their authority to act. Go to our You Can Help page

Read the Due Diligence Report

On a Festive Note

Thanks to all our supporters over the years!  If you weren’t able to show up this week to sing holiday carols at City Hall, enjoy these beautiful renditions of three of our custom carols as performed by our talented friends: Michelle Wolfe Paul, Susana Brizuela and Marcus Yetter.  Bravo!

And please take a moment to write to City Council encouraging them to send Chai and Bamboo to the sanctuary.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

Opinion: Don’t send Woodland Park Zoo elephants to same fate at another zoo

Guest columnist Lyn Tangen writes an opinion piece for the Seattle Times urging Seattle to send WPZ’s two surviving elephants, Chai and Bamboo, to a sanctuary instead of another cramped zoo. Here’s an excerpt:

As a member of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephant Task Force, I reviewed the zoo’s elephant program. I strongly disagree with the zoo board’s decision to send Chai and Bamboo to another zoo. Chai and Bamboo should go to an elephant sanctuary.

In a sanctuary such as PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society) in Northern California, elephants have many acres in which to roam without restraint. No one can seriously doubt that elephants that have 15 or more acres to roam are better off than elephants crammed into a 1 or 2 acre exhibit in a zoo.

Standards for elephant sanctuaries established by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries are in many cases more stringent than the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) accreditation standards for zoos. Sanctuaries are licensed and monitored by the same governmental agencies as zoos.

Years ago, Bamboo was sent to the Point Defiance Zoo to be with more Asian elephants. She did not integrate into the existing herd and was returned to the Woodland Park Zoo. If Chai and Bamboo are sent to another zoo, they could end up living just as they do now, a herd of two in crowded space — or worse, separated and bounced from zoo to zoo.

Read the full article in the Seattle Times

Councilmember Sawant, a true advocate for WPZ elephants

Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant is truly a hero for the elephants and all animals.  She is thanking YOU!  Please take the time to thank her for her support:  Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov and please cc your email to the other city members so they know what you expect of them:  to use their authority to secure the retirement of Bamboo and Chai to PAWS sanctuary:
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

Here is Councilmember Sawant’s letter:

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Congratulations on your victory closing the elephant exhibit at the Woodland Park Zoo, and on your continued struggle to see the elephants sent to sanctuary rather than to another zoo. Your organizing and persistence are truly inspiring.

Given your activism around this issue, I thought you might be interested in my recent interview for an online animal rights publication. I discussed your struggle, animal rights, and the importance of unity in the broader fight for social justice. I am interested in hearing your ideas.

Solidarity,

Kshama Sawant

Citizens and press barred from WPZ Board meeting

wpz_meeting_lockoutThanks to everyone who came out in the freezing weather to Woodland Park Zoo’s Dec. 2nd Board meeting—and to those who couldn’t come, for emailing. About 75 advocates came to the “public” board meeting but only 14 were allowed in even though there were some empty seats and the room was filled to the 100 person capacity. Those who spoke gave heartfelt, informative pleas to retire Bamboo and Chai to a sanctuary NOT another zoo.

Media were also banned from entering the “public” meeting. Nothing was mentioned about Bamboo and Chai which is no surprise as nothing was mentioned about Watoto’s passing (into freedom) at the last board meeting.

WRITE Seattle’s Mayor and City Council to use their authority to retire Bamboo and Chai to PAWS sanctuary!

BornFreeUSA: What Is the Difference Between Elephants and Zoos?

Check out this superb article on BornFreeUSA.org featuring the WPZ elephants

No conservation function is served by imprisoning elephants. Ivory poachers and ivory buyers are the problem; imprison them. There is nothing that an elephant in an enclosure can teach you that can’t be better learned many other ways”

We agree and are advocating for Bamboo and Chai to go to PAWS sanctuary—not another zoo.

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.

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