Category: Other elephant news

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:
African Wildlife Fund:
Save the Elephants:
Wild Aid: Working in China to stop demand.
Endangered Species Protection Fund:

Sign this petition to help:

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.

Heartfelt plea to Portland Metro Council in Watoto’s memory

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Scientific American: The Science Is In: Elephants Are Even Smarter Than We Realized

Scientific American has yet another excellent scientific article about the intelligence of elephants and the great injustice we do them by keeping them in zoos. They start with an important question:

We now have solid evidence that elephants are some of the most intelligent, social and empathic animals around—so how can we justify keeping them in captivity?

Every paragraph in the article is full of great points and solid scientific reasoning, so it’s hard to pick just one excerpt.

Refurbishing elephant enclosures so they are roomier and more intellectually stimulating is at once an acknowledgment and dismissal of the research on elephant intelligence and welfare. After all, if the zoos really have the animals’ best interests at heart, they would close their elephant exhibits. In 2005 the Detroit Zoo became the first to give up its elephants solely on ethical grounds. Spending so much time in close quarters—and waiting out the harsh Michigan winters indoors—left their two Asian elephants physically and mentally ill. Wanda and Winky were moved to the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s (PAWS) 930-hectare sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif. A handful of zoos have followed suit, but they are in the minority.

Read the full article in Scientific American

Scientific American: Orcas and elephants are smart, social and way too large for captivity

Scientific American March 2014

Scientific American March 2014

The Scientific American editorial team comes out on the side of elephants and other large, intelligent animals, condemning their captivity and mistreatment in their March 2014 issue. Here’s an excerpt from the article, Free Willy – And All His Pals (title changed to “Free the Elephants and Orcas in Captivity” in the online version):

Orcas and elephants are not the only intelligent species that deserve our respect and attention, but they face unique hardships in captivity. Even though many zoos and sea parks raise awareness about the plight of animals in the wild, the suffering of captive orcas and elephants in particular overshadows this worthy goal. Some currently confined individuals may not survive if released, but the ones that can be, should be, and captive breeding programs should be terminated.

We would add that a sanctuary is another possibility for animals that cannot be released into the wild.

Read the full article in Scientific American

Zoos’ dirty little secret

The Bradenton Herald posted a great opinion article about the shocking killing of a healthy giraffe by a Danish zoo.

People around the world were justifiably outraged when a healthy young giraffe was killed because he didn’t fit into a Danish zoo’s breeding plan. A second giraffe execution was in the works before public condemnation put a stop to it. But the only real surprise is how forthcoming these zoos were about it, since disposing of unwanted animals is typically the industry’s dirty little secret. Zoos everywhere, including right here in North America, routinely find ways to unload animals they no longer want or need.

PAWS Welcomes Toronto Zoo Elephants

Wonderful news, from the PAWS newsletter below! Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants applauds Torontonians, their City Council and the Toronto Zoo’s Board of Directors for their compassion and courage in making the science-based decision to allow their elephants to live out their lives at the PAWS Arc 2000 elephant sanctuary.  Let’s hope this serves as an example for Bamboo, Chai and Watoto.

From Canada To California,
Toka, Thika and Iringa Have Arrived At ARK 2000

Today, October 20, three African elephants from the Toronto Zoo in Ontario, Canada, arrived safely at our ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas, California. Their trip was funded by Award-winning television host, Bob Barker, who ardently advocated for the move, while PAWS assumes the financial responsibility for the lifelong care of the elephants. The elephants, Toka, age 43, Thika, age 33, and Iringa, age 44, will eventually share an 80-acre natural habitat with the sanctuary’s three resident African elephants, Mara, Maggie and Lulu.

“We are very happy that Toka, Thika and Iringa are finally here,” said PAWS’ president and co-founder, Ed Stewart. “PAWS looks forward to seeing these elephants make the transition from living in a zoo for most, if not all, of their lives, to exploring their expansive new home and meeting our resident African elephants. The elephants will receive excellent care from a dedicated staff, as they settle into their new lives at our sanctuary.”

“This move has been a long time coming, but what matters is that the elephants are here,” said Bob Barker, who was there to welcome the elephants, along with United Activists for Animal Rights president Nancy Burnet. “I am so excited for Toka, Iringa and Thika. The PAWS sanctuary is a place where elephants can just be elephants. It truly is a paradise for these magnificent animals.”

“After their cross-country journey, our first priority is getting them settled in and comfortable in their new home,” said Dr. Jackie Gai, DVM, PAWS’ veterinarian. “I’m looking forward to getting to know Iringa, Toka, and Thika, and we are committed to providing them with the best care possible.”

“PAWS thanks all of the people who made the road trip with Iringa, Thika and Toka,” said Stewart. “You couldn’t find a better or more qualified crew.” California-based Active Environments coordinated the move, under the direction of Margaret Whittaker. Accompanying the elephants on their trip to ARK 2000 were Dr. Joel Parrott, DVM, Executive Director, Oakland Zoo; Pat Lampi, Executive Director, Alaska Zoo; Dr. Angela Goodnight, DVM, Associate Veterinarian, Oakland Zoo; Jeff Kinzley, Elephant Manager, Oakland Zoo; Scott Blais, International Elephant Consultant, Co-founder, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

The Toronto Zoo board voted in May 2011 to end the zoo’s elephant program and send the elephants to another facility. The decision was based on a recommendation made in a March 2011 report that cited the high cost of building a new elephant facility, among other issues. In October 2011, the Toronto City Council voted 31-4 to move the elephants to PAWS.

The move comes amid a larger debate about the suitability of keeping elephants in captivity, and on the heels of documentaries such as HBO’s “An Apology To Elephants” (for which Lily Tomlin won an Emmy) and The Fifth Estate’s “The Elephant in the Room,” and The Seattle Times’ 2012 report on elephants in zoos, “Glamour Beasts: The Dark Side of Elephant Captivity.”

To date, 25 zoos have closed, or will be closing, their elephant exhibits, for reasons ranging from lack of funding for exhibit expansions to welfare concerns such as inadequate space, unsuitably cold climates, and insufficient social groups. Other zoos are enlarging older exhibits to provide more space for their elephants.

In the coming days and weeks we will be issuing updates, photos, and videos of the elephants to let you know how they’re settling into their new home. Check our website, like us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube Channel and watch your “in” box.

Welcome Toka, Iringa and Thika.

Remembering Pat Derby

Pat Derby was a friend and champion to elephants suffering in zoos and circuses. Click here for a tribute to Pat Derby from PAWS.


Pat Derby with 71

WATCH: The Elephant in the Room

Canada’s The Fifth Estate aired a great program about the fight to get Edmonton’s elephant into a sanctuary. Watch this in depth program here:

The Elephant in the Room to air on The Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate, a show which discusses “issues of current interest across Canada” will air a show entitled “The Elephant in the Room” which is a “report on the controversial handling of older elephants in captivity.”

Watch Friday, November 9 at 9 p.m. on CBC-TV (Canada). Bob McKeown reports on the controversy over what to do with older elephants when they are ready to retire.

Or you can watch the show online after it airs by clicking this link.

Check out this preview video:

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Judge Agrees With IDA, Says Los Angeles Zoo Elephants Are Not Healthy Or Happy

An exciting update from In Defense of Animals. If you appreciate the work they do, you can click through to the link to give a donation.

Tina and Jewel at the L.A. Zoo Tina and Jewel at the L.A. Zoo

Tina and Jewel at the L.A. Zoo

A five-year-long taxpayer lawsuit against the Los Angeles Zoo and its controversial $42 million elephant exhibit was decided Tuesday in favor of the plaintiffs. California Superior Court Judge John L. Segal released a scathing decision that called zoo officials “delusional.” He concluded that the elephants are not “healthy, happy or thriving.” The judge said the zoo’s new exhibit is injuring the three elephants who live there, Billy, Tina and Jewel, but stopped short of closing it. Instead, he ordered the zoo to make changes such as increasing exercise and rototilling to soften the soil in the exhibit, and banning bullhooks and electric shock devices.

The judge wrote: “The evidence at trial shows that life at the Los Angeles Zoo for Billy, Tina, and Jewel is empty, purposeless, boring, and occasionally painful. Their lives are supervised, managed, and controlled by zoo employees who appear to be in the dark about normal and abnormal behavior of elephants, in denial about the physical and emotional difficulties of the elephants they manage and whose lives they control, and under the misconception that the elephants prefer to live their lives in an exhibit with human companions rather than with other elephants.” Click here to read more, including what you can do to help.

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