Tied for 7th place, Woodland Park Zoo makes it onto In Defense of Animals’ Ten Worst Zoos List. This year, the decision focused mainly around the zoo’s obsessive breeding program:

WPZ Artifical Insemination WPZ Artifical Insemination

WPZ Artifical Insemination

These zoos tied for the No. 6 spot because of their repeated efforts to artificially inseminate two breeding-age females, Woodland Park Zoo’s Chai, age 30, and Shanthi, age 33, at the National Zoo, despite the known risks to mother and calf. Both elephants have lost calves to the deadly elephant herpesvirus, and the Woodland Park Zoo acknowledges that there is a greater than one-in-five chance that any calf produced by Chai would also be stricken with the fatal disease. In addition, both elephants are very near the age when female elephants in zoos are no longer bred due to a higher risk of birth complications. Since 2001, at least 21 elephant pregnancies in U.S. zoos have ended in stillbirths or other complications, resulting in 17 dead babies and six dead mothers. Zoos won’t turn the tide on elephant welfare as long as they continue to treat these intelligent and complex individuals as little more than breeding machines to produce baby elephants at any cost. Both zoos are appearing on IDA’s Ten Worst Zoos list for the third time. The Woodland Park Zoo also appeared once as a Dishonorable Mention.

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