Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Critics call for the transfer of zoo elephants to sanctuaries
Woodland Park Zoo must release elephants
In 2005, when I began the effort to free the Woodland Park Zoo elephants to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, I was unaware of the politics that caused zoos to hold onto their elephants with a death grip [“Glamour beasts: The dark side of captivity,” page one, Dec. 2, Dec. 3 and Dec. 4]. Inspired by the sanctuary's 2,700 acres of lush, subtropical habitat that gave elephants the vast natural space and freedom all elephants need, I thought everyone would want what is best for them.
However, since then, Bamboo endured an ill-advised transfer to Tacoma, baby elephant Hansa died from a gruesome virus and the survivors have steadily deteriorated, both physically and psychologically. Yet, still the zoo would not let the elephants go.
The zoo’s reputation will continue to suffer if it persists in promoting its outdated 19th century menagerie zoo model. This is the 21st century and people increasingly recognize that animals deserve to live their lives as nature intended, not as severely confined prisoners with no hope or quality of life. Elephants do not belong in Seattle's Northern climate and no one is inspired to contribute to elephant conservation by seeing them languish, bored and unhealthy, in a little yard.
Woodland Park Zoo needs to finally release Watoto, Chai and Sri to The Elephant Sanctuary where their elephant lives await them.
—Nancy Farnam, Edmonds