Tens of Thousands Call On City Council to Help Elephants at Woodland Park

PETA Joins Seattleites in Appealing to Authorities to Overrule Zoo’s Likely Refusal to Send Animals to a Sanctuary

For Immediate Release:
February 24, 2015

Brittany Peet 202-483-7382


Two elephants remain at the Woodland Park Zoo after the elephant Watoto’s death—and although Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, members of the Seattle City Council, and more than 70,000 petition signers agree that the elephants should be moved to a sanctuary, the Woodland Park Zoo is likely to insist on sending them to another zoo. That’s why this morning, PETA sent a letter to Mayor Murray and the city council asking that they use their legal authority over the Woodland Park Zoo to trump the zoo’s anticipated decision, which is due on Friday.

As PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes in its letter, at a sanctuary the elephants would have the companionship of other elephants, acres of space to roam, and other essentials for their health and well-being that simply aren’t available to them at a zoo.

“It seems that everyone in Seattle except the Woodland Park Zoo recognizes the need to send these elephants to a sanctuary, not to yet another zoo,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA’s members join with every concerned citizen of Seattle in calling on Mayor Murray and the city council to get these surviving elephants the peaceful retirement they need.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Seattle officials follows.


February 23, 2015

Seattle City Council

Dear Council Member:

I am writing on behalf of PETA and its more than 3 million members and supporters, including over 10,000 in Seattle, to thank you for the compassion and tireless efforts that you have put into ensuring the welfare of the elephants Chai and Bamboo. As you know, the fight is not yet over. Although we share your hope that Woodland Park Zoo officials will make the right choice and send them to an accredited sanctuary, we know that’s highly unlikely. In anticipation of the zoo’s misguided and uncompromising decision to send the elephants to another zoo, I am writing to urge you to use your clear legal authority, as outlined in the Woodland Park Zoo Operations and Management Agreement between the city of Seattle and the Woodland Park Zoological Society, to direct that Chai and Bamboo be transferred to an accredited sanctuary. We believe that it will come down to you to give these elephants the life that they deserve and not allow them to be confined to another inadequate zoo exhibit, where they would continue to be exploited and denied everything that is natural and important to them.

Since Watoto’s untimely death in August, the nation’s watchful eye has been on Seattle. Her death was preventable as it was the result of debilitating arthritis—a condition caused by captivity. The excitement over the zoo’s decision to close its elephant exhibit quickly abated when the zoo announced its intentions to send the elephants not to a sanctuary but to another zoo—where their health and well-being would continue to be compromised. The two sanctuaries in the U.S. that are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries are prepared to give Chai and Bamboo a forever home. Unlike animals confined to zoos that move them around at will, Chai and Bamboo would spend the remainder of their lives in peace at a sanctuary.

More than 70,000 people across the county have signed a petition urging that the elephants be sent to a sanctuary. Please listen to your constituents, to the plea of people across the nation, and to the objective reports from elephant experts and intervene in the zoo’s decision to send Chai and Bamboo to another zoo where they risk meeting an untimely death, just as Watoto did. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have or provide further information. Thank you for your consideration of this serious matter.

Very truly yours,

Delcianna Winders, Esq.
Deputy General Counsel | Captive Animal Law Enforcement
PETA Foundation

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