Seattle, WA – Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants applauds Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, Michael Berens for uncovering what zoos desperately try to hide from the public: elephants are dying due to zoo captivity. Two front page articles “Elephants Dying out in Zoos”, Dec. 2nd and 3rd, 2012 in the Seattle Times exposes the plight of keeping Bamboo, Chai and Watoto at Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ).

The Seattle Times article validates “Friends'” assertions, scientific research, and input from experts, including a former WPZ director and a former WPZ veterinarian, that WPZ consistently fails to meet the most basic physical and psychological needs of these intelligent animals.  At the very least, we ask that the zoo take immediate action to improve the elephants’ living conditions while they work toward their retirement.

WPZ claims “we do not have a record that gives the cost of housing or caring for the elephants” [View full letter from WPZ].  This is particularly disturbing because WPZ receives more than $10 million from Seattle and King county tax payers every year.  The lack of transparency and accountability raises the question of how our tax dollars are being used at the zoo.

“It’s time that WPZ steps up to the plate and carry out what taxpayers expect from our zoo by improving Bamboo, Chai and Watoto’s welfare immediately”, says Nancy Pennington, “Friends” co-founder.

The zoo’s covert use tax payer money is a crisis of confidence trumped only by their denial of what is needed to reduce the elephants’ suffering.

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