Category Archives: Wildlife

Woodland Park Zoo in Violation over Elephant Care

FWPZlogo

According to a September 9, 2014 USDA inspection report, the Woodland Park Zoo violated the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by failing to ensure that elephants have “access to shelter during inclement weather to afford them protection and to prevent their discomfort.”

Woodland Park Zoo has demonstrated once again that they don’t put the elephants’ well-being first. It’s taken the USDA to discover a violation of the AWA to force the zoo to protect the elephants from our unsuitable climate.  What’s even more astonishing is that the zoo needs to take another year—2 years total to put up a rain shelter. (A year ago the Task Force said to put up a rain shelter.)

If this enrages you, PLEASE write to the Zoo and others! Will you help Chai and Bamboo by emailing?

The Mayor and Sally Bagshaw are on this list and will monitor how many emails the Zoo gets. PLEASE, write – even one line.

PLEASE be thoughtful and respectful in order to make an impact. All of our reputations are on the line.

Just copy and paste the email list below. It includes the Zoo’s administration, curators, sales and donor staff, elephant and other keepers, and as many Zoo Board and Task Force members’ addresses we could find, and City and some County council members. (Some email addresses may bounce back and some people are away at a conference. They can think about your comments in their hotel room!)

L-ExecutiveLeadershipTeam@zoo.org, zooinfo@zoo.org, deborah.jensen@zoo.org, Bruce.Bohmke@zoo.org, Nancy.Hawkes@zoo.org, Bruce.Upchurch@zoo.org, Darin.Collins@zoo.org, Kelly.Helmick@zoo.org, Lisa.Dabek@zoo.org, Steve.Cremer@zoo.org, Russ.roach@zoo.org,  group.registration@zoo.org,  zoocorps@zoo.org, groupsales@zoo.org, membership@zoo.org, Jim.Bennett@zoo.org,  woodlandparkzoopr@zoo.org, Gigi.Allianic@zoo.org, Laura.Lockard@zoo.org, Anne.Knapp@zoo.org, Kim.Haas@zoo.org, Rebecca.Whitham@zoo.org, npell57@gmail.com, alaico@paws.org,  DeggingerG@LanePowell.com, jason.hamlin@ubs.com,gduvernoy@forterra.org, jmanning@cascadialaw.com, fen@cofen.com, jan@dennyhillcapital.com, stuart@dennyhillcapital.com, bryce.seidl@outlook.com, larry.phillips@kingcounty.gov, laurie.stewart@soundcb.com, peter.c.wang@ampf.com, Glennkawasaki@hotmail.com, Pattisavoy@hotmail.com, Ddevita@hotmail.com, Elizabeth.A.Sicktich@wellsfargo.com, marianne@bichselpublicaffairs.com, LSCaputo@aol.com, jwleppo@stoel.com, slinker@vetmed.wsu.edu, robliddell@comcast.net, Kirsten.Pisto@zoo.org, donations@zoo.org, Fred.Koontz@zoo.org, Jamie.Creola@zoo.org, Kathryn.owen@zoo.org, martin.ramirez@zoo.org, jean.godden@seattle.gov, sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov, ed.murray@seattle.gov, Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov, Sally.Clark@seattle.gov, Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov, Nick.Licata@seattle.gov, Tom.Rasmussen@seattle.gov, Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov, Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov, dow.constantine@kingcounty.gov

Here are some talking points or just send an email you already wrote.  Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants’ web site is a huge resource:

  • Elephants are intelligent, far ranging animals that suffer physically and psychologically when confined in a tiny, impoverished environment.
  • The Mayor and City Council can act to retire the elephants. This violation of the AWA shows that the Zoo doesn’t put the elephants’ well-being first.
  • The Zoo’s revenues are down 6% in a booming local economy.  Nationwide, animal organizations’ revenues are at an all-time high.  Keeping elephants is bad for the Zoo’s reputation.
  • A sanctuary is the best we can do for Bamboo and Chai.  We owe this to them after giving up their entire lives to entertain us.
  • Two elephants, Watoto and Hansa, have died prematurely.  No more dead elephants!

FYI:  This is what the Mayor said on Oct. 22, 2014: “When I was a legislator I supported the removal of elephants from the zoo. My position has not changed…I hope we can reach an agreement with the zoo…I realize there are levers we could pull, but I think it’s too soon to have those discussions.”  (21:40 and 51:17 time code) http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=3011410

Thanks for helping get Chai and Bamboo to a sanctuary.

Save the Date:  Dec. 2nd Zoo Board Meeting at 4pm.  Get to Zoo by 3:40.  Details when we get closer.

The truth about Watoto

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an article yesterday that attributed Watoto’s death to chronic, age-related arthritis.

“We don’t know if Watoto fell or laid down. My clinical assessment is that she was unable to stand back up, due to the joint disease,” Dr. Darin Collins, the zoo’s director of Animal Health, said in a report.

Watoto, the lone Asian elephant in Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, died because she couldn’t stand up. And she couldn’t stand because of her ailing joints, caused by the environment in which she was forced to live: hard substrate in the barn and unyielding compacted ground outside. She didn’t suffer from any diseases or heart problems. And she wasn’t old–despite what the zoo is trying to tell people.

The zoo said the median life expectancy of an African elephant is 41 years. Watoto was 45. But the key word in the zoos statement is median. If you exclude baby elephants, who die more often than adults, and you exclude poaching, which takes the lives of elephants in their prime, you’ll see that elephants in the wild live longer than their captive counterparts. Wild elephants can live into their 60s and 70s. In fact, females are most fertile between 35 and 45, meaning in the wild, Watoto would be still giving birth to calves.

Wild elephants don’t suffer the degenerative joint diseases and foot problems like the majority of captive elephants face.

Confined elephants can’t travel like they should. In the wild, elephants can travel twenty miles a day. Elephants who aren’t free develop psychological problems and physical health problems.

Woodland Park Zoo said Watoto was geriatric. They want people to think Watoto was old. In reality, she suffered because she was isolated and confined. Captivity killed her.

watoto-300x199

The two surviving elephants, Chai and Bamboo, urgently need to be released to a sanctuary. Please keep up the pressure on Seattle City Council and Mayor Ed Murray.

You can sign this petition, and you can write to the council and mayor at the addresses below.

Seattle Mayor and City Council addresses:

Ed.murray@seattle.gov, Jean.Godden@seattle.gov, Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov, Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov, Sally.Clark@seattle.gov, Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov, Nick.Licata@seattle.gov, Tom.Rasmussen@seattle.gov, Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov, Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov

King Council addresses:

larry.gossett@kingcounty.gov, kathy.lambert@kingcounty.gov, larry.phillips@kingcounty.gov, Dave.Upthegrove@kingcounty.gov, jane.hague@kingcounty.gov, pete.vonreichbauer@kingcounty.gov, joe.mcdermott@kingcounty.gov, rod.dembowski@kingcounty.gov, reagan.dunn@kingcounty.gov, dow.constantine@kingcounty.gov

Zoo management and Board of Directors: Deborah.jensen@zoo.org, Bruce.Bohmke@zoo.org, Darin.Collins@zoo.org, nancy.hawkes@zoo.org, zooinfo@zoo.org

Sanctuary is the humane choice that is a win for all stakeholders:

  • The Zoo–and taxpayers–will save money and the zoo can be a leader in compassion.
  • Children will learn a valuable lesson in science
  • The Seattle Mayor, City Council, and citizens can be proud of their humane leadership
  • Most of all, Bamboo and Chai will have the best quality of life available.

Further reading:

Necropsy Reveals Disturbing Death of Seattle Zoo Elephant
Did Neglect Kill Woodland Park’s African Elephant Matriarch?
Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants
Community Coalition for Elephant Retirement

 

Seal Beach is Sending Coyotes to Gas Chambers

(The following information is from In Defense of Animals)

The city council in Seal Beach, California approved a plan to kill coyotes in the area by gassing them in a mobile CO2 chamber.

Coyote

According to the “pest” control company Critter Busters, the coyotes will be caught in live traps and then transferred into mobile gas chambers with carbon dioxide (CO2). California has outlawed CO2 chambers for dogs and cats, so why are wild animals allowed to suffer?

This decision is a reaction to several dogs who have been killed by coyotes. City council’s misguided plan to brutally gas coyotes doesn’t address the real reasons why coyotes are coming into contact with people. It fails to take into account human behavior, including people leaving food sources outside, and even worse—residents apparently actually feeding the coyotes.

Losing an animal companion, whether to a disease, a car accident, or to coyotes is always a tragedy.

The coyotes are just trying to survive. It’s up to people to protect their companion animals without having coyotes killed by the tens of thousands nationwide every year without any true prospect of reducing their populations.

Killing coyotes does not work – not on the prairies, and not within city limits.

Killing coyotes won’t stop them from coming into town. It’s just one of those things that we cannot, should not, and do not need to control, because we have better ways to deal with situations like the one Seal Beach is experiencing: respectful and compassionate co-existence. Get rid of the reasons the coyotes are coming into town and the coyotes won’t be an issue.

Please click the link to IDAs site and fill out the form to send the letter to the Seal Beach mayor and City Council members. Follow up with a polite call to tell them to put an immediate halt to the senseless trapping and gassing of coyotes.

 

Global March for Elephants and Rhinos

Every 15 minutes, an elephant is killed.

Every 9 to 11 hours, a rhino is killed.

These beautiful creatures are often poached for their ivory and horns. Whether for trinkets or so-called medicine, there is no justification for their deaths.

That’s why, this Saturday, thousands of people from over 125 cities around the world are participating in the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos. The event will bring awareness to the plight of elephants and rhinos–two species whose very existence is in peril (poaching kills 35,000 elephants and over 1,000 rhinos every year).

The march will put pressure on  governments around the globe to publicly destroy their stockpiles of wildlife parts and show zero tolerance for this illegal trading. The main reason these species are in decline is because of the growing trade in tusks and horns. Here are the details for the Seattle event:

What:  Global March for Elephants and Rhinos
When:  Saturday, Oct. 4th at noon – 2 pm
Where: International Children’s Park, 700 S Lane St, Seattle, WA

Global march for elephants and rhinos

The march will be about half a mile long. Signs will be provided, but you can bring your own. For more info or to RSVP to the event, check out the event’s Facebook page and the handy march map.

Before the march, a lineup of speakers will inform, inspire, and entertain. Cathy Sorbo, comedian and former Seattle PI columnist, will emcee the event. Speakers include:

  • Tom Skerritt, acclaimed actor and passionate animal conservationist.
  • Wendie Wendt, Executive Director of Big Life Foundation, one of the leading organizations in the fight to stop poaching.
  • Kathleen Gobush PhD, A research scientist who worked with Save the Elephants, a key player in saving elephants in Kenya. Currently she is a Senior Project Developer with Vulcan.
  • Lisa Kane JD, a retired lawyer and author who has advocated for the welfare of captive and wild elephants locally, nationally and internationally.

Please help bring awareness to this crisis and help stop the demand for elephant tusks and rhino horns.

Keep Up the Pressure on Sea World…

…because at SOME POINT, SOMEWHERE, SOMEONE is going to open a last letter, click on a last email, read the results of a last poll, and finally say, OK. We’re done.

Standing at a protest outside Woodland Park Prison Zoo a few days ago, I was nonplussed at the number of people giving us the thumbs-up and waving and nodding….as they went in to visit the zoo.  I wondered about it aloud to a fellow protester: why are these people still going in if they agree with our reason for being here? One of the people marching in turned around and said truculently, BECAUSE IT’S FUN!

I remember being there.  I went to zoos. I went to aquariums. I went to Sea World. I went to Parrot Jungle. It was something you did if you ‘loved animals': you went to look at them.  Even when I was very little, it made me vaguely uncomfortable. My parents always seemed sad there, but they went anyway. It was as if we all knew something fundamental about it was badly wrong, but it was an immutable part of the status quo.  Finding out exactly how bad those places are was never much of a surprise, but finding out how POWERFUL individuals are in creating change, was.

Predictably, Sea World has reacted to calls for liberation by deciding to build bigger prisons, hoping most people won’t realize bigger bathtubs are still bathtubs,  even if they are decorated around the edges with plastic rocks and plants.

orca

I am asking you to let them know a real sea change has occurred, and no amount of window dressing will ever make imprisonment for entertainment alright again.  It’s gone beyond conditions. It is a matter of rights. The ones they have and we don’t.

So please, right now, when you finish reading — not later today, not tomorrow — tell SeaWorld to set in place a firm plan to release the animals to sanctuaries that can provide them with a more natural environment (like sea pens, pending release).  And tell them to do it now — not in 10 years, not even in five.

Sign an online petition here.

And/or better yet, make direct contact:

Jim Atchison (president & CEO of SeaWorld), PO Box 690129, Orlando, FL 32869

The Blackstone Group
Contact information for 29 locations to write, call and/or fax…

Please! Help Needed to Stop Wolf Killers IN Washington!

 

One wolf, a pup, has already been shot from a helicopter by a hunter hired by the State of Washington using your tax dollars. Yesterday, Monday, Fish & Wildlife hunters were out again, targeting more wolves from what is known as the Huckleberry Pack.  The state could have used rubber bullets or paintball rounds to harass the wolves, but instead resorted immediately to airborne snipers.

aerialgunning

Why? Wolves from that pack have allegedly killed about 20 sheep and injured three more.  Wolves were driven to extinction in Washington in the early 1900s by a government-sponsored eradication program on behalf of the livestock industry. Their population has grown to about 50 wolves again today, but an entire pack was exterminated in 2012 to stop cattle depredation. A lot of ranchers and hunters object to the presence of wolves, saying they prey on livestock (which the  ranchers want to sell to other people to kill) and deer (which the hunters want to kill themselves for fun).  The next time some hunter uses the  the excuse that they need to keep the deer population down, remember that they suddenly object when wolves start doing that naturally for them.

Fish & Wildlife say that non-lethal methods have been used, but we know they have refused multiple offers of help for non-lethal coexistence, including from WSU.  F&W also points out that the livestock owner has not done anything to attract the wolves — apart, of course, from choosing to pasture 1800 sheep in wolf country, just three miles from the known location of the wolves’ den.

The sheep were already meant to have been moved, but were not.

PLEASE call AND email Governor Inslee and tell him to immediately ground the helicopters, get Department of Wildlife staff on the ground to get the sheep out of this area, and to NEVER let this happen again.

and/or

360-902-4111.

 Thank you.

Poll: Should Woodland Park Zoo send its elephants to a sanctuary?

With the passing of Watoto, The Seattle Times wrote a superb Editorial about elephants in captivity.

Please read the article and answer the poll about whether the zoo should send its elephants to a sanctuary. The poll is at the end of the article.

Please vote and share the poll with everyone you know!

Chai and Bamboo NEED your help to get a strong vote. We need to show the Mayor and City Council that people want the elephants to go to a sanctuary.

elephants in zoos or sanctuaries

Please VOTE and share!

We Need Comments NOW Against the New UW Lab

As you know, the University of Washington’s Board of Regents approved plans for a new Animal Research and Care Facility (ARCF) at the UW.  It is now being considered by the UW’s Environmental and Land Use Compliance department, which can decide to NOT let the proposed lab plans go forward — and they are currently taking public comments.  If they receive an AVALANCHE of letters, they cannot ignore them.  So please, read the information below and then submit your comment to help prevent this lab from being built.    animal-testing

           THE ARCF WOULD DOUBLE THE NUMBER OF PRIMATES, PIGS, AND RABBITS THAT THE UW CAN TORTURE.                                                      It is SO important that it never be built.

You can review the Draft Environmental Impact Statement here: http://f2.washington.edu/cpo/projects/sepa

Please submit your comments (and try to keep them polite, professional and focused) by this Wednesday, August 27, to Jan Arntz, Environmental and Land Use Compliance: jarntz@uw.edu

Ideas for comments: 
1. Follow comments with questions. Questions are more difficult for the UW to dismiss without addressing. Examples of such questions are: What has the UW done to ensure that XXX impacts are mitigated? Did the UW consider XXX and if so what did it find? If not, why not?
2. Raise public involvement issues. Has the UW really considered the concerns of the public, including pressure to consider alternatives to using animals in research? Members of the Board of Regents admitted to not doing outside research about the lab, animal testing, or alternatives to animal testing and did not consider much of the public comment submitted to them prior to voting for the ARCF.
3. Incorporate comments of others by reference, including anyone else opposed to the construction, possibly including members of a group you work with.
4. Comment on everything, even if it seems small. Comment on environmental impacts, consistency with broader UW plans (including reputation), UW’s history of violations in their labs, and compliance with all other laws. Animal Welfare Act regulations, environmental regulations, etc.

Lend Your Voice to Ireland’s Activists

The picturesque village (pop. 1600) of Stradbally in SE Ireland is known for an annual arts and music festival called the Electric Picnic.  It is NOT known for the largest fur farm in the country,  just 13 minutes away.  There, thousands of mink are kept in horrendous conditions and gassed to death when just six months old.

mink1

Sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/ban-fur-farming-in-irela…

If you can stand it, watch disturbing footage filmed at the fur farm in Stradbally here: https://www.change.org/p/ban-fur-farming-in-irela…

mink

Email Minister of Agriculture Simon Coveney.  No one wants their country to have e negative image in other parts of the world. Tell him Ireland should be known for other things instead of concentration camps for fur-bearing animals. Tell him you support a total ban on fur farming and an immediate closure of Ireland’s fur farms.

Simon.Coveney@oireachtas.ie,

AnimalHealthAndWelfareAct@agriculture.gov.ie

 

 

 

RIP Watoto – Vigil at noon on Saturday, August 23rd‏

Today is a very sad day.  Watoto was euthanized.
She died without ever having had a good day.

You may have heard that Watoto, the African elephant that so many people were fighting for, lost her life today. Watoto was discovered lying down unable to right herself when the keepers arrived this morning.  The Zoo’s staff decided to euthanize her after being unable to raise her.

Please join in a vigil/peaceful demonstration at the street entrance to Woodland Park Zoo’s south entrance tomorrow, Saturday at noon.

What:  Vigil for beautiful Watoto
When: Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 at noon
Where: Street entrance to the Zoo’s south entrance at N. 50th and Fremont Ave. N.

     

Watoto was only 45 years. In the wild, she would have been in the prime of her life; still bearing calves. Confinement in a zoo takes a devastating physical and psychological toll on these far-ranging and intelligent animals. The zoo industry’s own statistics show that elephants die young.

Woodland Park Zoo denied Watoto of one her greatest needs–companionship of her own kind. After being ripped from her mother in Africa as a baby, Watoto never set eyes on another African elephant. The zoo also denied Watoto the opportunity to spend her remaining years in a sanctuary.

Watoto suffered from a host of chronic captivity related diseases as a result of living her entire life in the cramped quarters of Woodland Park.

Woodland Park Zoo is an exceptionally poor environment. The elephants are locked outdoors in less than 1 acre.  Indoors, the elephants are locked in barren cages, standing on hard substrate and only able to walk a few steps in any direction. This lockup, due to our climate, lasts 16-17 hours a day, every day, for over half of the year. Scientific American describes this as: “tortuous conditions [which] inflict serious physical and psychological damage on such smart and sensitive animals.”

We hope that Watoto’s suffering and death will not be in vain. We are very grateful for Seattle’s Mayor Murray’s statement. We need him to go farther: Bamboo and Chai need to retire to a sanctuary. Click here to read the Mayor’s statement.

Please write to ask the Mayor and the City Council to order the zoo to release Bamboo and Chai to a sanctuary. They have the authority.

Email: Ed.murray@seattle.gov,
Jean.Godden@seattle.gov,
Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov,
Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov,
Sally.Clark@seattle.gov,
Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov,
Nick.Licata@seattle.gov,
Tom.Rasmussen@seattle.gov,
Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov,
Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov,
Deborah.jensen@zoo.org,
Bruce.Bohmke@zoo.org,
Darin.Collins@zoo.org,
nancy.hawkes@zoo.org,
zooinfo@zoo.org

Please call the Mayor anytime on Wednesday, the 27th.  Ask the Mayor to withhold funds from Woodland Park Zoo until the elephants are released to a sanctuary. 206-684-4000

Rest in peace, Watoto.