Mourners of Elephant Who Died at Oklahoma City Zoo to Hold Vigil

Protesters and PETA Renew Call to Send Surviving Elephants to Accredited Sanctuary for Retirement

For Immediate Release:
February 2, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

People dressed in black will hold a vigil outside the Oklahoma City Zoo on Wednesday for Chai, an elephant who died prematurely over the weekend after a lifetime of deprivation in captivity. The group is calling on the zoo to close its elephant exhibit in the wake of the two recent elephant deaths there: In October, a calf died of a highly fatal disease associated with captive elephants.

Where:           Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, 2101 N.E. 50th St., Oklahoma City

When:             Wednesday, February 3, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

“This animal’s life was marked by trauma, from the day she was taken from her beloved mother as an infant in Thailand to the moment she died in a crowded zoo,” says PETA Foundation Captive Law Enforcement Counsel Rachel Mathews. “The zoo should send the surviving elephants to a real sanctuary where they’ll have acres to roam, loving care, and every other essential that this zoo can never give them.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that Chai was used for years for breeding at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, where she endured at least 112 rounds of artificial insemination and lost her only calf to a deadly disease. She was sent to be bred at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Missouri, where she was reportedly physically abused with a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end. And although PETA urged Seattle’s zoo to send Chai and her companion, Bamboo, to a sanctuary last year, they were instead sent to the Oklahoma City facility, which has a history of premature animal deaths.

For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind