published an article about the Zoo’s task force, titled  The elephants in the room: Woodland Park’s see-no-evil campaign and with perhaps the even more interesting subtitle: “A long-awaited expert review of its elephant program suggests the zoo still isn’t ready to face inconvenient truths”. Here’s an excerpt:

Last spring, animal-welfare advocates feared a whitewash when Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo launched an “independent” review of its controversial elephant program. Under the moniker Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants, they’d campaigned and sued for years to force the city-owned, privately operated zoo to retire its three aging elephants to a more spacious sanctuary in a warmer climate.

Some zoos have sent their aging, often solitary elephants to sanctuaries. But Woodland Park has doggedly defended its elephant management and its efforts to breed new elephants, out of what seems a combination of conservation mission, face-saving pride and calculation. Displaying captive elephants, zoo defenders argue, builds knowledge and “empathy” that can inspire people to help save elephants in the wild. And elephants, especially cute babies like Woodland Park’s late Hansa, are premier visitor magnets.

The advocates’ efforts nevertheless helped prompt a Seattle Times investigative series on the elephant program’s troubled history and calls from the city council for an inquiry. But the city left it to the zoo to conduct the inquiry. The zoo’s board appointed a citizen task force. And that, in the critics’ view, is where the trouble began.

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