Write to City and County Councils and Zoo

Sanctuary is the humane choice that is a win for everyone: The Zoo saves the cost of the most expensive animals to keep and become leaders in compassion, children will learn a valuable lesson in science, the City government and citizens can be proud of their humane leadership and most of all, Bamboo, Chai and Watoto will have the best quality of life available.

The City Council needs to hear from you, especially if you are a Seattle or King County tax payer. Just a simple sentence like: “Send Bamboo, Chai and Watoto to a sanctuary” will have a great impact.

All addresses: Ed.murray@seattle.gov, 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, larry.gossett@kingcounty.gov, kathy.lambert@kingcounty.gov, larry.phillips@kingcounty.gov, Dave.Upthegrove@kingcounty.gov, jane.hague@kingcounty.gov, pete.vonreichbauer@kingcounty.gov, joe.mcdermott@kingcounty.gov, rod.dembowski@kingcounty.gov, reagan.dunn@kingcounty.gov, dow.constantine@kingcounty.gov, Deborah.jensen@zoo.org, Darin.Collins@zoo.org, nancy.hawkes@zoo.org, zooinfo@zoo.org


In 2002, The City of Seattle entered into a 20-year Operating Agreement with the Woodland Park Zoological Society. The City has oversight but has chosen not to weigh in on the issue of elephants being held at Woodland Park Zoo as long as the Zoo doesn’t violate city, state and federal animal welfare laws — which are woefully inadequate for these far-ranging, intelligent animals. The City gives $6.6+ million and the County gives $3.8 million tax dollars to the Zoo each year with annual increases and through levies.

Meanwhile Bamboo, Chai and Watoto suffer in close confinement outdoors and prolonged lock up in tiny barn stalls without companions. Scientists and elephant experts say this is abusive.

The Zoo is also going against the will and values of the Seattle Community. A recent survey showed 62% of Seattleites want the elephants retired to a sanctuary with vast spaces and in a warmer climate.

Consider the following points when writing your letters on behalf of Bamboo, Chai and Watoto, the three female elephants, who have spent their entire lives since they were babies at Woodland Park Zoo.

Elephants are peaceful, migratory animals who are genetically wired to travel great distances. They move not only for food, water and exercise but also for social encounters and novel experiences. Female elephants are long lived, highly intelligent, retain lifelong memories, possess deep feelings and have a complex family and social life — all of which are denied to them by being confined in a zoo environment.

  • Bamboo, Chai and Watoto share one acre that is divided into 5 pens. Due to incompatibility Bamboo and Watoto must always be kept separated effectively confining them to a fraction of an acre outdoors.
  • Indoors, the elephants are locked in a small, barren cage-like stall for 16 – 17 hours a day for overhalf of the year. This is due to Seattle’s wet and cold climate and the Zoo not choosing to add staff. Either Bamboo or Watoto are in solitary confinement. This is completely unnatural and considered abusive for such an intelligent animal.
  • All three elephants exhibit abnormal stereotypical behaviors and suffer from captivity induced ailments. Many elephants with physical and psychological symptoms similar to the elephants at WPZ have thrived at a sanctuary where they have hundreds of acres in a more suitable climate.
  • Woodland Park Zoo is managed privately but is overseen by the City of Seattle and the Parks, Neighborhoods & Education Committee. The Zoo receives $10.4 million from tax payers each year and spends at least $787,000.00 annually housing the elephants. The Zoo has spent over $480,000.00 to fight media and citizen criticism over keeping elephants on display.
  • Anything else that is important to you about the elephants!

Individual contacts listed below:

Ed Murray, Mayor
Ed.murray@seattle.gov, 206-684-4000

Sally Bagshaw, Seattle City Council, Parks Committee Chair
sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov, 206-684-8801

Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council
Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov, 206-684-8016

Sally J. Clark, Seattle City Council
sally.clark@seattle.gov, 206-684-8802

Nick Licata, Seattle City Council
nick.licata@seattle.gov, 2066-684-8803

Bruce Harrell, Seattle City Council
bruce.harrell@seattle.gov, 206-684-8804

Tim Burgess, Seattle City Council
tim.burgess@seattle.gov, 206-684-8806

Jean Godden, Seattle City Council
jean.godden@seattle.gov, 206-684-8807

Tom Rasmussen, Seattle City Council
tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov, 206-684-8808

Mike O’Brien, Seattle City Council
mike.obrien@seattle.gov, 206-684-8800

Deborah Jensen, Woodland Park Zoo President
deborah.jensen@zoo.org, 206-548-2416

Or, send a letter to each of the above council members at the following address:

[Name of Council member]
Seattle City Hall PO Box 34025
Seattle, WA 98124-4025

Or, fax them at 206-684-8587.


We have a variety of educational/awareness opportunities. Contact us to volunteer!

  • Speakers. If you are comfortable with public speaking, we can use you!
  • Letter writers. Opportunities arise when we need people to write letters.
  • Attend protests and demonstrations!
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