Close Exhibit After Death of Second Elephant in Four Months

Target: Oklahoma City Zoo Executive Director, Dwight Lawson

Goal: Close elephant exhibit responsible for the death of two elephants and move remaining animals to sanctuaries.

Yet another Asian elephant has died within the Oklahoma City Zoo elephant enclosure, making that two elephant deaths at the zoo within the past four months. Chai, a 37-year-old elephant, died alone and unattended, and was found by zoo workers when they arrived in the morning. The Oklahoma City Zoo obviously does not have healthy or adequate conditions for elephants, and it is time for it to close its elephant exhibit and transfer its remaining elephants to sanctuaries that can offer them longer and healthier lives.

Chai was transferred to the OKC Zoo just last May, despite animal activists’ attempts to block her transfer from Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Even the judge who approved the transfer was not optimistic about the living conditions Chai would have at OKC Zoo, stating that the facility couldn’t offer the necessary climate or amount of space that animal experts say are necessary for elephant well-being.

Not only was Chai knowingly sent to live in an unhealthy environment, but she also became the second elephant to die within that environment in the past four months. In October, a very young four-year-old elephant died of a Herpes virus.

The recent, unexplained death of Chai is just further proof that the OKC Zoo is not a safe place for elephants to live. It is terrible that this animal was knowingly placed in an environment that could not offer her a healthy or happy life, and it is time for us to ensure that the same mistake is not made with any more elephants. Please sign the petition below to show your support for the remaining elephants at OKC Zoo by demanding they be sent to sanctuaries that can offer them healthier, happier lives.


Dear Mr. Lawson,

Within the last four months, two Asian elephants have died within the elephant enclosure at Oklahoma City Zoo. One of these elephants died alone and unattended, and the other died at the untimely age of four, suggesting that the habitat at OKC Zoo is not a safe or healthy place for elephants to live. I am writing to implore you to close the elephant exhibit at OKC Zoo and send the remaining elephants to sanctuaries that can offer them safer, healthier lives.

The median life expectancy for female Asian elephants is 47, however the two female Asian elephants who died within the OKC Zoo elephant exhibit were only 37 and four. Not only are elephants living much shorter lives within this exhibit, but it also doesn’t offer the climate or the amount of space experts say are needed for an elephant’s overall well being. The combination of these factors suggest that this exhibit is simply not adequate for the health of elephants and needs to be shut down.

Elephants are magnificent, intelligent, and social animals who deserve to live in an environment that keeps them active, engaged, and healthy. The exhibit at OKC Zoo simply cannot offer elephants the stimulation or socialization that they need, and therefore the moral thing to do is find a better place for the remaining elephants to live. Please make the decision that is in the best interest of these beautiful animals by closing the elephant exhibit and moving the remaining elephants to sanctuaries that can offer them better lives.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Cacophony

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  1. So the judge had qualms about sending Chai to this place, yet did so! Beggars belief!!

    This zoo should be closed down let alone stopped from exhibiting these beautiful elephants.

  2. Heather Brophy says:


  3. hal shootel says:

    The judge should be censored or disbarred for this bad decision.

    The zoo must go along with the zoo operators.

  4. “So many people insist they are against animal abuse, cruelty, suffering and the inhumane treatment of animals, yet they don’t understand they are actively engaging in and supporting egregious suffering, abuse, cruelty and inhumane treatment when they eat animals and their ‘by-products.’ If you are against cruelty, suffering and inhumane treatment, then you go vegan. It’s just that simple.” – Sarah Kiser

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