Watoto alone, pacing in Shower Room Watoto alone, pacing in Shower Room

Watoto alone, pacing in Shower Room

Seattle, WA – Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ) has been inducted into IDA’s (In Defense of Animal) Hall of shame.  Lack of space, captivity-induced ailments, and the deadly breeding program all add up to suffering for Bamboo, Chai, and Watoto.  This suffering in addition to WPZ’s search for ways to cut costs, begs for the elephants to be released to the 2,700 acre Elephant Sanctuary (TES)— at no cost to Seattle taxpayers or WPZ.

From a humane perspective, elephant experts say WPZ’s less-than-one acre elephant exhibit is inadequate for these migratory giants who are genetically wired to travel great distances.

Seattle’s winters force the elephants indoors for 16 – 17 hours a day.  “Their stall permits them to pace only a few steps in any direction. Outdoors they have less than 1 acre!” says Nancy Pennington, Co-founder of Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants (FOWPZE).

WPZ’s  medical records reveal that Watoto, Bamboo and Chai suffer from colic, arthritis, obesity, herpes (which killed Hansa at 6-years- old) and foot infections.  Foot disease is the number one reason zoo elephants are euthanized and Chai has suffered from foot infections for over ten years.

“Particularly heartbreaking is witnessing Bamboo, Chai, and Watoto’s repetitive neurotic behaviors— the effects of long term suffering” says Pennington.

WPZ is planning to artificially inseminate Chai for the 56th time in the spring.  Any calf born at this herpes-infected Zoo will likely die from the disease just as Hansa did.  WPZ has no infection control in place.   There is no cure for this excruciatingly painful disease that results in an almost certain death in young Asian elephants.

FOWPZE is calling for our elephants to join 15 other elephants at The Elephant Sanctuary; roam hills, forests and meadows; and swim in a 25-acre lake—all in a lush sub-tropical climate.

WPZ needs to make the unselfish and prudent financial decision to let Bamboo, Chai and Watoto heal from the traumas of zoo confinement.

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