Seattle, WA – Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants (FOWPZE) is calling the 56th artificial insemination of Chai a tragedy.  FOWPZE says breeding must end at Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ) due to the high risk posed by the elephant herpes virus that killed Hansa in 2007 and multiple miscarriages suffered by Chai.

Any calf born at WPZ may likely die from Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) before the age of 10.  Here are the facts:

  • Hansa (Chai’s calf and an Asian elephant) died from EEHV on June 8, 2007
  • Watoto, who lives with Chai, tested positive for EEHV May, 2008.
  • WPZ has no way to keep a calf from being exposed to EEHV since her/his own mother is likely a carrier, as are the other WPZ elephants.
  • WPZ has no infection control in place and there is no cure for EEHV.
  • Of the young Asian elephants who get sick with herpes, 85% die.
  • EEHV causes an excruciatingly painful and gruesome death.

A calf will not contribute to elephant conservation or survival of the species because:

  • He/she will never be released into the wild.
  • Herpes is not an issue in the wild.
  • Reproduction is not an issue in the wild.

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants has made WPZ management, the Woodland Park Zoological Society, and the Seattle City Council aware of this deadly breeding program.  The facts, statistics and current science clearly show it is irresponsible to breed at this herpes-contaminated zoo.

“The public was deeply saddened by Hansa’s death from herpes.  Any calf born at WPZ is being set up for another tragedy” says Nancy Pennington, FOWPZE co-founder.

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