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.
Cc: Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants