Woodland Park Zoo Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo

The Stranger takes a very in-depth look at Woodland Park Zoo’s elephants, their quality of life, the tragic death of Hansa and various mental and physical illnesses suffered by all of WPZ’s elephants, and much much more.

Read the full article, Cash Cows: Is Woodland Park Zoo Mistreating Its Elephants?

The following excerpt from the article shows that another nearby zoo, Pt. Defiance in Tacoma, is able to acknowledge that these tiny zoo habitats are inadequate for elephants, due to their physical and mental needs.

The Detroit Zoo is the only zoo in the nation to voluntarily retire all of its elephants to a sanctuary. The Bronx Zoo has stated that it will shut down its two-acre elephant exhibit once the elephants living there now die off. Even the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma acknowledges that elephants need more room to roam than it can provide and is exploring “transitioning away” from keeping elephants (again, once its current elephants die off).

“We’d like to have more space—our yard is about an acre—but our footprint doesn’t allow much for expansion,” says John Houck, deputy director of the Point Defiance Zoo. There are also only about 150 Asian elephants nationally, and captive breeding programs just aren’t working, he says. “We need to see about nine calves born a year, nationwide, and we’re averaging about two. It’s really a numbers game. When we lose these two current elephants, what will we do?”

Still, the Woodland Park Zoo has no plans to retire its elephants or expand its space. It continues to try to breed more babies on its one-acre plot.

Read the full article here

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