Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Local animal issues in the news
Posted by Letters editor
Washington black bears euthanized
I am wondering why “State euthanizes 5 black bears used to humans” [NWWednesday, June 30] was not put on the front page of Wednesday’s section of The Seattle Times?
To me, the killing of five black bears because they were used to people is really wrong.
Yes, feeding them is not right either, like the one resident who spent $4,000 a year on dog food to feed them, but why could the bears not be brought to a very remote wildernessin Washington or Idaho instead of euthanizing (killing is a more appropriate word) the innocent treasures and gifts of our forests?
— Joe Giannunzio, Redmond
The Woodland Park Zoo sued over elephant care
I have two main concerns with the Woodland Park Zoo elephants [“Zoo sued over care of elephants,” NWWednesday, June 30]. The first lies in the way Chai is continuously inseminated despite the knowledge she will once again pass deadly herpes to any of her future offspring.
Any calf born at Woodland Park Zoo may likely die from Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) before the age of 10. Of the young Asian elephants who get sick with herpes, 85 percent die.
My second concern lies in the knowledge that elephants need room to walk. Only in nice weather can the elephants be out on one acre, an enclosure that does not allow for proper lymphatic circulation. The Tennessee sanctuary would give these captive zoo elephants more than 2,000 acres and a natural water source.
The notion that we must keep elephants chained behind bars is antiquated in the time of webcam, when a visit with her at the sanctuary is only as far as the nearest computer screen.
— Donna Kelleher, DVM, Seattle
Well-intentioned but misinformed
While the plaintiffs may be well-intentioned, it seems to me that they have not made a real study of zoo elephants. As a volunteer at another zoo, I’ve gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about these magnificent animals and, quite frankly, I don’t think the plaintiffs really know anything about them.
First of all, they say that elephants wander large areas every day and keeping them in a zoo is inhumane. Yes, they do travel for miles, but it’s because they are searching for food. The Woodland Park Zoo feeds and cares for their animals so they have no need to wander. If you study elephants in the wild, as long as there is food available, they’ll stay in one place and eat.
Then I would ask the question, if you are so interested in the elephants, how did you get that way? My guess is after seeing them in a zoo. Elephants in the wild are becoming more and more threatened due to loss of habitat and poaching. If things don’t change soon, that’s the only place you’ll find them.
Being in Tennessee might be an option for some elephants that come from abusive situations, but the education to save wild animals comes from the general public viewing and learning about them and that will only happen in a zoo.
If the plaintiffs have doubts about how the elephants are treated, they should stand and watch them respond to their keepers’ voices. They would never be responsive if they were abused. I’ve watched our elephants listen and respond and it’s amazing.
So if you’re really interested in helping save the elephants, educate yourself and stop trying to turn the spotlight on a suit that makes no sense.
— Jill Eshenbaugh, University Place
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