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Topic: elephants

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November 24, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Should Woodland Park Zoo elephants go to zoo or sanctuary?

UPDATE 10:24 a.m., Dec. 3, 2014: Seattle City Council member Nick Licata responded to the editorial board’s request for his position on whether Chai and Bamboo should be sent to a zoo or sanctuary. His staff sent an email stating, “Councilmember Licata appreciates the work the Zoo has done to consider options for the elephant exhibit. He supports sending Bamboo and Chai to a qualified, safe sanctuary.”

ORIGINAL POST:

Woodland Park Zoo officials pleasantly surprised me when they announced a plan on Wednesday to phase out the elephant exhibit. I’m sure a lot of people were ready to give them a round of applause.

Chai, a 35-year-old Asian elephant, holds a pose as she waits for a zookeeper to place hay in a box in her enclosure at the Woodland Park Zoo on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Chai, a 35-year-old Asian elephant, holds a pose as she waits for a zookeeper to place hay in a box in her enclosure at the Woodland Park Zoo on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

And then they blew it. Bamboo and Chai are likely headed to a different zoo on this list of accredited institutions by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

Bamboo, a 47-year-old Asian elephant, walks in her enclosure at the Woodland Park Zoo on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Bamboo, a 47-year-old Asian elephant, walks in her enclosure at the Woodland Park Zoo on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The Seattle Times editorial board published an editorial Wednesday evening calling on Seattle leaders to give these animals a break. They have worked hard enough for decades. Let them retire and roam free somewhere.(If you want to have your say, scroll to the poll at the bottom of this post.)

Here’s an excerpt:

Details are yet to be ironed out, but the Seattle City Council — which also serves double duty as board members of the Seattle Park District — should require the zoo to retire these animals. Make no mistake: This is now an election issue for City Council races.

On Thursday, I asked each of the nine Seattle City Council members to respond to this question: Do you support the elephants going to another zoo or sanctuary?

As of Friday morning, every member of the council had responded except Nick Licata. Find out where they stand below.

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Comments | Topics: elephants, Seattle City Council, woodland park zoo

October 23, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Bob Barker to Woodland Park Zoo elephants Bamboo and Chai: Come on down (to a sanctuary)!

When Mayor Ed Murray delivers his proposed budget Thursday evening at Seattle City Hall, he won’t be able to miss the elephant (advocates) in the room.

Members of the Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants issued a press release Thursday announcing plans to pack the 5:30 p.m. meeting. They’ll “urge City Council members to withhold funding from Woodland Park Zoo until the Zoo’s two surviving elephants are retired to a sanctuary.” The mayor’s budget blueprint reportedly includes $7 million in taxpayer funding for the Woodland Park Zoo.

The Seattle Times editorial board, the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are among the institutions that have advocated for sending Bamboo and Chai to a sanctuary where they can live out their days in a warmer climate and with more space to move around. The Woodland Park Zoo’s third elephant, Watoto, was euthanized in August after she fell and could not get up. As of 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, here’s the (very unscientific) results of an Oct. 13 Opinion Northwest poll asking readers what should happen to the two remaining elephants:

(Screenshot of poll featured in Oct. 13 Opinion Northwest blog post.)

(Screenshot of poll featured in Oct. 13 Opinion Northwest blog post.)

Murray and a few council members have indicated they are ready to take another look at the plight of the zoo’s elephant exhibit. Perhaps they need another strong nudge to move faster. Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, Friends co-founder and elephant advocate Alyne Fortgang emailed me a Sept. 30 letter from “The Price is Right” host and animal rights activist Bob Barker to zoo and city leaders. Here’s what that letter states:  

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Comments | Topics: bob barker, elephants, woodland park zoo

October 13, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Poll: What should Woodland Park Zoo do with its two surviving elephants?

In case you missed Saturday’s editorial, The Seattle Times again called on the Woodland Park Zoo to release its elephants to a sanctuary. These creatures are loved. They are major attractions for visitors. But they are suffering where they are. Watoto’s death should force city leaders to reassess the future of the zoo’s pachyderm exhibit. Last week’s…

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Comments | Topics: elephants, watoto, woodland park zoo

August 26, 2014 at 5:13 AM

Poll: Should Woodland Park Zoo send its elephants to a sanctuary?

When African elephant Watoto collapsed last week at the Woodland Park Zoo and had to be euthanized, her death reenergized  a long-running debate over elephant exhibition in rainy Seattle. Today The Times asks for your opinion. For years activists have contended that the exhibition of elephants is a matter of cruelty that can be considered separately from the…

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Comments | More in Polls | Topics: elephants, woodland park zoo