Despite the loss of Chai’s first calf, Hansa, to a deadly and contagious herpes virus, WPZ attempted to impregnate Chai yet again, as reported in the Seattle Times. The Times spoke with FOWPZ cofounder, Alyne Fortgang:

Alyne Fortgang, co-founder of Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephants, said Thursday that Chai’s insemination is “an absolute tragedy.”

“Keeping elephants in captivity and breeding them is so abnormal,” she said. “It kills them prematurely.”

Fortgang said she’s been lobbying the zoo to release its elephants to a sanctuary in Tennessee. She cited facilities such as the Detroit and San Francisco zoos, which closed elephant exhibits in recent years because of the difficulties in caring properly for the mammals.

“Keeping elephants in zoos actually teaches children the wrong message — that we can use animals as entertainment regardless of their suffering,” she said.

The story was also reported in the Ballard News Tribune.

All of Woodland Park Zoo’s elephants are female. In addition to Chai, the other members of the herd are 43-year-old Asian elephant Bamboo and 41-year-old African elephant Watoto. Hansa, Chai’s female offspring born in 2000, died unexpectedly at 6.5 years old from a newly discovered elephant herpesvirus.

Alyne Fortgang, cofounder of Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants, said it is irresponsible for the zoo to go forward with a breeding program when there has already been reported cases of herpes infection and death within the elephant population.

The zoo has no infection control in place and no cure for herpes, which means there is a death sentence on any calf born there, Fortgang said.

Read the full story in The Seattle Times.

Read the full story in the Ballard News Tribune.

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