Target: Deborah B. Jensen, Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO
Goal: Send three elephants from a tiny enclosure to an enormous free-range wildlife reserve
Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo is home to many wild animals large and small, but one of the most popular attractions has always been its elephant exhibit. The enclosure boasts three adult female Asian elephants, but unfortunately the zoo is unequipped to provide them anything more than a miserable, threadbare existence.
Chai, Bamboo, and Watoto have been living at the Woodland Park Zoo for decades – an experience that has seen their physical and psychological health steadily degrade since their introduction to the park. A single-acre elephant enclosure keeps the animals pacing extremely repetitive paths, damaging their feet on gritty soil in attempts to dilute the intense boredom of captive life. The exhibit’s indoor area offers no consolation, as all three massive elephants are fed and cleaned in small concrete ‘barn’ that they can barely turn around in. When temperatures dip below 40 degrees, the animals are forced to occupy the tiny indoor area full-time.
Looking at the long history of health problems, fatalities, and failed breeding attempts of elephants in American zoos, there would seem to be no hope for Chai, Bamboo, and Watoto. But there is a light in the darkness – the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).
PAWS is an organization dedicated to caring for abused large animals and specializing in providing large and exotic animals the space and resources they need to thrive. What’s more, PAWS owns a 2,300-acre sanctuary built specifically to house elephants. Playfully named Ark 2000 and located in San Andreas, California, this sanctuary is ready and willing to transform the lives of elephants just like Chia, Bamboo, and Watoto.
Although freedom is just one agreement away, the Woodland Park Zoo is unwilling to give up the revenue generated by its crowd-pleasing elephants. It’s time to give the park’s manager a push in the right direction. Sign this petition and demand the elephants be released from their horrible conditions.
Dear Dr. Jensen,
As the CEO of an establishment dedicated to the preservation and protection of animals, it is also your duty to look after their well-being. The small size and inadequate accommodations featured in the Woodland Park Zoo elephant exhibit are unacceptable. Woodland Park Zoo’s elephants are miserable and unhealthy, and the exhibit should be shut down.
Zoos all across America are struggling to keep their elephants alive, let alone happy. The Seattle Times recently conducted a first-of-its-kind study on 390 captive elephant fatalities at accredited U.S. zoos during the past 50 years. The study’s results only confirm what innumerable activists and organizations like PETA have believed for years: elephants are simply not meant to live in captivity.
Multiple lawsuits have been filed against your zoo for the deplorable conditions in which your elephants are kept. Heed these warnings, respect your animals, and release your elephants to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in San Andreas, California.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: Vinoth Chandar via Wikimedia Commons