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Captive Elephants in Seattle Need Your Help TODAY!

© Martyn Stewart

Watoto, the sole African elephant at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo, was euthanized on August 22, 2014. The zoo apparently doesn't monitor the elephants overnight, and zookeepers had arrived to work to find Watoto on the ground. After being unable to lift her with straps and heavy equipment, they euthanized her. An elephant's natural life span is similar to that of a human's, and Watoto was only 45 years old.

Watoto was denied companionship her entire life. She was taken from Africa as a baby and hadn't seen another African elephant since she was about 2 years old. She was incompatible with one of the two other elephants at the zoo, which the zoo handled by confining one of the elephants to a cage for up to 17 hours a day. When not in solitary confinement, the elephants had less than 1 acre of space to roam. Elephants in the wild walk up to 30 miles every day. This is the second elephant death in seven years at Woodland Park Zoo. The first was the death of 7-year-old Hansa, resulting from the stress-related elephant herpes virus and, like Watoto's death, inadequate monitoring.

Even though numerous zoos have closed their elephant exhibits and despite the inherent cruelty of captivity, Woodland Park Zoo continues to defend its decision to keep its elephant exhibit open. In fact, the zoo announced a seriously misguided five-year plan earlier this spring that would involve spending about $3 million to modify the facility and add more elephants.

PETA is joining forces with other organizations to urge Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and other city officials to make the compassionate decision to send the remaining two elephants at Woodland Park Zoo to a sanctuary. We need our voices to be heard to ensure that the zoo cannot sentence more elephants to a lifetime of cruelty and captivity. Please write to the mayor and the members of the Seattle City Council and urge them to send the two remaining elephants at Woodland Park Zoo to a sanctuary.

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