There is enough outcry now that the public will no longer put up with the Woodland Park Zoo Board’s autocratic ways of dealing with the elephant issue [“Watoto’s death a wake-up call for city, Woodland Park Zoo,” Opinion, Aug. 25].
The elephant display must be phased out and the elephants moved to a sanctuary where their natural instincts and needs are met. They don’t belong in a city with unnaturally limited roaming space.
The zoo has become rigidly institutionalized, and there is a disconnect between the management’s preoccupation with species preservation and the animals’ welfare. It is intellectually dishonest to maintain that they are in the business to preserve the species when the elephants die in their care and can’t breed. The numerous unsuccessful attempts to artificially impregnate them are distasteful if not cruel.
The argument of the educational value of keeping elephants in their confines doesn’t sell. Today’s young families are much more knowledgeable about environmental and animal welfare issues than the audience the original “modern” zoos were created for in the 18th century.
The battle for survival of the species must be focused on the animals’ home countries, not in the middle of a big city where they never belonged in the first place.
Ruth Kildall, Seattle