Today is very sad day. Watoto was euthanized. She died without ever having had a good day.

Watoto’s life must not be in vain. Bamboo and Chai must find peace and health in a sanctuary.

Watoto was discovered down when the keepers arrived this morning. Unable to get her up, the Zoo’s staff decided to euthanize her. This brings up many questions: why aren’t the elephants monitored 24/7 as they are at the sanctuaries? What are the zoo’s policies for a downed elephant? Do they have adequate equipment to lift an elephant?

Watoto was only 45 years old. In the wild, she would have been in the prime of her life; still bearing calves. Confinement in a zoo takes a physical and psychological toll on these far-ranging and intelligent animals. The zoo industry’s own statistics show that elephants die young.

Woodland Park Zoo denied Watoto of one her greatest needs–companionship of her own kind. After being ripped from her mother in Africa as a baby, Watoto never set eyes on another African elephant. The zoo also denied Watoto the opportunity to spend her remaining years in a sanctuary.

Watoto in the yard at WPZ

Watoto in the yard at WPZ

Watoto suffered from a host of chronic captivity-related diseases as a result of living her entire life in the cramped quarters of Woodland Park Zoo.

Woodland Park Zoo is an exceptionally poor environment. The elephants are locked outdoors in less than 1 acre. Indoors, the elephants are locked in barren cages, standing on hard substrate and only able to walk a few steps in any direction. This lockup, due to our climate, lasts 16-17 hours a day, every day, for over half of the year. Scientific American describes this as: “tortuous conditions [which] inflict serious physical and psychological damage on such smart and sensitive animals.”

We hope that Watoto’s suffering and death will not be in vain. We are very grateful for Seattle’s Mayor Murray’s statement that  we should “reopen a dialogue in this city about the proper habitat for elephants.”  We need him to go farther: Bamboo and Chai need to retire to a sanctuary.

Please write to ask the Mayor and the City Council to order the zoo to release Bamboo and Chai to a sanctuary. They have the authority.

Ed.murray@seattle.gov, Jean.Godden@seattle.gov,Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov, Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov, Sally.Clark@seattle.gov, Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov, Nick.Licata@seattle.gov, Tom.Rasmussen@seattle.gov, Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov, Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov

Click here for the Zoo’s press release.

Vigil Saturday at Noon

We will have hold a vigil/ peaceful demonstration at the street entrance to Woodland Park Zoo’s south entrance tomorrow at noon.

What:  Vigil for beautiful Watoto
When: Saturday, August 23, 2014 at noon
Where:  Street entrance to the Zoo’s south entrance at N. 50th and Fremont Ave. N.

Rest in peace, Watoto.


7 Responses to “Watoto euthanized today at WPZ – Vigil tomorrow at noon”

  1. Kolleen on 23 Aug 2014 at 11:13 am #

    Is there a petition started? Something I can directly people to without them having to contact each legislator? Thank you!

  2. katz on 29 Aug 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    please either give them the companionship or the space they need. If you can’t, get the survivors to a sanctuary that can!

  3. larry on 29 Aug 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    I hope this zoo and many others that are like this do not ever get another Elephant ever. They should be banned from having them with the care this animal received over its lifetime.

    They should close the zoo.

  4. Kelley Beld on 29 Aug 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    Elephants are wonderful, special sensitive creatures and they deserve to live in a place where they can be healthy. Please protect Bamboo and Chai from the same fate as Watoto! Have a heart! I live right near Woodland Zoo — it’s a beautiful place but keeping these elephants the way the Woodland Zoo does is cruel. Please consider giving them to a sanctuary where they can be properly cared for. I won’t be going to the Woodland Zoo again while elephants are still kept there. Thanks for your kind attention to this important matter.

  5. Dawn on 30 Aug 2014 at 5:07 am #

    Settle ZOO,,,,,,
    Shame Shame
    Uneducated, Bastards, Humans such as you guys.
    Greedy, Lazy, Bastards, in Seattle, who scream, No smoking yet
    Cage Wild Animals, Puke!

    Contact: Paws Sanctuary for Elephants/Bob Barker Foundation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Voice for Animals
    Yes I smoke too, and after sex as well, Haha
    come after me, (sick O Washington)

  6. Dawn on 30 Aug 2014 at 5:10 am #

    Leave Town Zoo’s
    Send these elephants to Bob Barkers Sanctuary at PAWS, for from Humans like Seattle, WA is.

  7. Victoria on 30 Aug 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    I’m ashamed of our race. We have become a barbaric cruel natured people. Those in high places who don’t move laws forward in a ethical way should be ashamed because they more than anyone else can make bigger changes. So, to not do so makes me think shame on you.

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