Woodland Park Zoo sued over elephant records

FOWPZEAlyne Fortgang, co-founder of Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants, recently filed a lawsuit against the Woodland Park Zoo.

The suit asks the Court to declare that Woodland Park Zoo is acting as a “hybrid” pubic agency and, as such, should be subject to Washington State’s Public Disclosure Laws. This means the Zoo would have to tell us how they spend the millions of tax payer dollars we give them AND answer our questions about Bamboo, Chai and Watoto’s quality of life.

Over the past 7 years FWPZE has filed many Public Disclosure Requests with the Zoo.  The zoo has repeatedly refused to share important information about the welfare of the three elephants living there.

Woodland Park Zoo claims it isn’t subject to public disclosure requests. However, the Zoo’s operations are funded with $10.4 million taxpayer dollars and uses city-owned buildings and land at no cost.”

“Woodland Park Zoo can’t have it both ways; if it chooses to take our generous tax dollars, then it must be held accountable on how it spends our money,” said Fortgang. “I am simply asking that the Zoo be transparent with tax payers, which is why public records laws exist.”

Action:

While the suite is underway, please write a polite email asking for Bamboo, Chai and Watoto be retired to a sanctuary immediately.

Here are addresses for the Seattle City Council, King County Council and zoo management and Board. If you’ve already written, please write again and please cross post.Ed.murray@seattle.gov, Jean.Godden@seattle.gov, Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov, Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov, Sally.Clark@seattle.govBruce.Harrell@seattle.gov, Nick.Licata@seattle.gov, Tom.Rasmussen@seattle.gov, Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov, Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov, larry.gossett@kingcounty.gov, kathy.lambert@kingcounty.gov, larry.phillips@kingcounty.gov, julia.patterson@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,Deborah.jensen@zoo.org, Darin.Collins@zoo.org, zooinfo@zoo.org
Share

Speak up for the Woodland Park Zoo elephants

FOWPZE

Woodland Park Zoo has their hand out again for money from tax payers – in fact they’re listed first on the list to get money in the Parks Legacy Plan. The City needs to know that there are many of us who don’t want more funding to go to the zoo.

Here’s why:

  • The zoo already gets $6.6 million dollars annually–and the amount goes up every year. Last year Seattle taxpayers paid  the zoo an additional $2 million for parking!
  • We do not consider this business a park.
  • No other park has admission.
  • No other park has a Board of Directors dedicated to fund raising.
  • The zoo could save $787,000.00 by closing the archaic and inadequate elephant exhibit by retiring the elephants to a sanctuary. They could also save the cost of fighting media and citizen criticism of the elephant program that has mounted to at least $480,000.00 over the past 7 years.
  • No other park has such public controversy associated with it’s operations. The zoo’s elephant program has been criticized by The Seattle Times, The Ron and Don Show (the #1 rated talk radio show), The Seattle PI, Crosscut, blogs, internationally renowned elephant experts and Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants.

Please go one of these meetings and give public comment or simply say why you’re there on the sign-in sheet. We’d like to your thoughts if you attend. Here are the dates and times of the meetings:

Thursday, January 23 at 6 p.m. – International District/Chinatown Community Center 719 8th Ave. S
Saturday, January 25 at 1 p.m. – High Point Community Center 6920 34th Ave. SW (Free childcare will be provided)
Thursday, January 30 at 7 p.m. – Bitter Lake Community Center 13035 Linden Ave. N

More info on the Parks Legacy Plan is here.

Also, please write a short and courteous email to the following people asking Woodland Park Zoo to be removed from the Parks Legacy Plan. It can be as simple as: ”Please remove Woodland Park Zoo from the Parks Legacy Plan. The Zoo receives enough tax dollars.”

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

Thanks for your help. We couldn’t help the elephants without you!

Share

Have your say about the Seattle Parks zoo assignment

Woodland Park Zoo Elephant logo

Very soon, a new Seattle City Council Chair of Parks will be selected. The Parks Chair oversees Woodland Park Zoo. Bamboo, Chai and Watoto are the three elephants who have lived 45, 33 and 43 years, respectively, on display at the Zoo. They need a council member who is concerned about their welfare to be the next Parks Chair.

Please ask Sally Clark (City Council President), Ed Murray (the Mayor-elect) and the other City Council members to choose a City Council member who will work with the Zoo to retire the elephants to a sanctuary in a warmer climate with hundreds of acres to roam.

Contacts:
mayoraltransition@seattle.gov
Sally.Clark@seattle.gov
Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov
Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov
Richard.Conlin@seattle.gov
Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov
Nick.Licata@seattle.gov
Tom.Rasmussen@seattle.gov
Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov

What you might want to know:

The Zoo-appointed Task Force’s recommendations should not be used to determine the elephants’ fate. Their bias was clear, with 5 out of the 14 being current or former Zoo Board members and many others having a clear conflict of interest. The Zoo Board will make their decision about Bamboo, Chai and Watoto’s future early next year.

Friends of WPZ Elephants commissioned a survey using Research Now, an independent research company. The findings debunk the Zoo’s cherished catchphrase and the Task Force’s justification for keeping the elephants: That seeing an elephant will inspire people “to learn, care and act to help conserve elephants and their habitats in the wild.”

NOT SO—NOT EVEN CLOSE:

  • 97% of survey respondents knew about elephant poaching for their ivory. They learned about this crisis from print and media—not from Woodland Park Zoo.
  • 88% of people who saw the elephants at the Zoo didn’t change to whom they donate or products that they buy.

Our wet and cold climate is wrong for elephants. It forces Bamboo, Chai and Watoto to be locked up in a tiny, barren stall for 16 to 17 hours a day for over half of the year. It’s like you being locked up in a broom closet.
Watoto in a box

Please write a polite email asking for the new Parks Chair to be someone who will work with Woodland Park Zoo to retire Bamboo, Chai and Watoto to a sanctuary so they may have a humane quality of life.

Thanks so much,
Nancy Pennington and Alyne Fortgang
Co-founder, Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants
A NARN Campaign
206-595-7770

Please join us on Facebook

Spaceless in Seattle — heartbreak at Woodland Park Zoo

Share

Kent and Everett circus wrap-up

The circus has come and gone, and we’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who came out to the demos and helped in any way. Your presence in Kent and Everett sends a strong message that we won’t tolerate animal abuse of any kind–and when we see it, we speak up!

circus demo collage

The demos couldn’t happen without you. We know you could have done something else with your time, but you chose to speak up for animals. Being part of a protest isn’t easy. Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zones to help educate circus-goers. The signs you made were terrific, and your pleasant demeanors helped to open minds and change attitudes.

As activists, we sow seeds, but we don’t always see the fruits of our labor. Here are a few examples of how the demos are helping:

  • One woman’s kids never want to go to an animal circus again–because of the comic book they received.
  • In Everett, a woman whose friend invited her to the circus said she’d never considered what happens to the animals. She didn’t want to go to the circus, but the tickets were purchased. Next year, she won’t go.
  • After seeing the circus, a woman escorting some disabled adults said she was upset at what she saw and that what was happening to the elephants wasn’t right. She took some literature and will talk to her boss about finding something different for her clients to do next year.
  • At the Kent demo, some little girls told a protestor that they didn’t want to go to the circus because they had seen “An apology to elephants” on HBO but that their mom was making them go. They took literature so they could talk to their friends about why animal circuses were bad.
  • Another woman, after receiving a flyer, promised not to come back next year. She thought her kids would like it but realized that animal circuses are depressing and don’t send kids the right message.
  • One man, whose kids had their activist coloring books confiscated by circus security on the way in, turned around and declared that they were going to see a movie instead.

Thank you for making a difference. Whether you’re a seasoned activist or brand new at this, you were an important part of the demos. We loved seeing familiar faces and meeting new people.

Kent Friday demo

Kent Thurs demo

Everett Thursday demo

Everett Saturday demo

Everett Saturday 2 demo

Thank you all!!

Share

Join us at the circus demos in Everett

If you hate this:

Ringling elephants

then come and do this:

Kent circus demo

We just wrapped up four days of demos in Kent (seven shows in all), and we’re heading to Everett for another four days to educate circus-goers about what really goes on behind the scenes of the Ringling Bros. Circus.

For info on what Ringling does to animals, see: http://www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com.

We will have signs, leaflets, banners…we just need YOU!

You are also welcome to bring your own sign – be creative!  It shows that individuals, not just animal rights groups are concerned about circus cruelty.

Demos start an hour and a half before each show time. Come to one or come to all! We’d love to have you join us:

Thursday the 10th at 6:00 pm
Friday the 11th at 6:00 pm
Saturday the 12th at 10:00 am, 2:00 pm, and 6:00 pm
Sunday the 13th at 11:30 am and 3:30 pm

Meet at the corner of Hewitt & Oakes.

For directions, more info, or to RSVP, see the Facebook event.

 

Share

Come protest the circus with us!

Ringling is bringing the Cruelest Show on Earth to Kent, and NARN will be there to educate circus goers about what really goes on  behind the scenes. For info on what Ringling does to animals, see: http://www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com.

circus

We have signs, leaflets, banners–we just need YOU!

You’re welcome to bring your own sign. Be creative! It shows that individuals, not just animal rights groups, are concerned about circus cruelty. Demos start an hour and a half before each show time. We will be right along the front of Showare Center on West James Street–you’ll see us there!

Times:
Thurs, Oct. 3rd from 6:00-7:30 pm
Fri, Oct. 4th from 6:00-7:30 pm
Sat, Oct. 5th (3 shows) from 10:00-11:30 am, 2:00-3:30 pm and 6:00-7:30 pm
Sun, Oct. 6th (2 shows) from 11:30 am-1:00 pm and 3:30-5:00pm

If you have questions about the demos, contact info@narn.org. For more info or to RSVP, check out the Facebook event.

Share

Evergreen Health offers employees tickets to the circus

We recently found out that Evergreen Health, a group of urgent- and primary care facilities on the Eastside, is offering discounted circus tickets to their staff as a “perk.”

It’s quite possible that Evergreen doesn’t know how cruel the circus is and how, for example, they beat and torture baby elephants into submission with bull hooks and electric prods in order to get them to perform.

baby elephant being abused

Please contact Evergreen, and inform them politely that circuses with animal acts are cruel. Please ask them not to support the circus by buying or subsidizing tickets.

General Contact form: https://www.evergreenhealth.com/about_evergreen/contact_us/

Board of Commissioners: commissioners@evergreenhealthcare.org

Media Relations: Kay Taylor, Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Office phone: (425) 899-2604
Cell phone (303) 514-5326
Email: KTaylor@evergreenhealth.com

Human Resource Department:
Office phone: (425) 899-2511
(Since this is an employee “perk” it may have been approved or initiated by this dept.)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/evergreenhospital.org
(For those who want to post on their page or send them a note)

Twitter: @evergreenhosp
(for sending them a message, or tweeting and including them)

Watch this video and hear what actor Edie Falco (also known as Nurse Jackie) has to say about the circus:

edie_video

Share

Jungle Party Demonstration for Bamboo, Chai and Watoto

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants is joining IDA (In Defense of Animals) for this year’s Jungle Party Demonstration for Bamboo, Chai and Watoto, the three elephants on display at the Woodland Park Zoo. Jungle Party is the zoo’s largest fundraiser and Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants will be present to make the donors aware of the elephants’ pathetic lives.

What: Rally for Bamboo, Chai and Watoto
When: 4pm – 6:30 pm; Friday, July 12, 2013. Come for all or part of the time.
Where: Woodland Park Zoo’s WEST entrance (on Phinney Ave N. at N. 55th, Seattle, WA  98103)

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants and IDA will also be protesting the composition of the task force that the zoo formed after years of criticism over the elephant program, the two scathing Seattle Times reports and subsequent two editorials calling for Bamboo, Chai and Watoto’s retirement to a sanctuary. The zoo is concerned about its image and the task force is about damage control, not looking after the elephants’ best interests.

Woodland Park Zoo chose all members of the task force, most of whom are financially and personally invested in the zoo. There are the five current or past zoo board members on the force—a clear conflict of interest. Dr. Slinker, a zoo board and task force member, chose the health panel. He co-authored an op-ed in The Seattle Times in which he said the elephants don’t have foot problems (which they do) and should stay at the zoo.

This task force is all about assuaging donors not Bamboo, Chai and Watoto’s welfare.  It clearly shows the zoo is concerned about their insistence on keeping elephants in their tiny display.

Also: Please come to all or part of the next task force meeting on Monday, July 22nd from 4pm – 7pm or 8pm (to be announced). It will be at the Seattle downtown library at 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA 98104-1109 206-386-4636

Share

Urge USDA To Confiscate Elephant Lucky From The San Antonio Zoo

In a shocking move, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) reportedly approved a request by the San Antonio Zoo to keep a 53-year-old female Asian elephant named Lucky in isolation. Lucky is now the only solitary female elephant in an AZA-accredited zoo in the U.S. The zoo’s director told the media that Lucky will remain at the zoo  until she dies. The zoo’s other elephant, Queenie, died in March.

elephant Lucky San Antonio ZooNo elephant should ever be held in solitary confinement. Female elephants are profoundly social – they live in matriarchal, multi-generational herds in the wild that include sisters, aunts, nieces, and nephews.

The AZA’s own guidelines require that elephants are housed in groups of three, yet the AZA is inexplicably sanctioning the San Antonio Zoo’s cruel decision to keep Lucky alone. This is the third variance the AZA has given to the zoo in a decade to house Lucky alone, despite pleas from IDA and our members to deny the unreasonable (and inhumane) requests and instead send Lucky to a facility that can meet her physical and social needs.

You can learn more and sign the petition at the IDA site.

Share

“Do what’s best for the elephants”

Yesterday, The Seattle Times published an editorial opinion piece by David Hancocks, former director of Woodland Park Zoo. His message: Elephants at the zoo are suffering. These complex social creatures cannot have even their basic needs met in a zoo environment.

Thanks to The Seattle Times and letters from the people of Seattle, the plight of Watoto, Chai, and Bamboo is getting attention from decision-makers.

Watoto the elephant pacing in a cage

Unlike their wild counterparts, elephants in captivity do not thrive. Their lifespans are shorter, their natural social bonds are severed, and they are deprived of the enriched environments they need to keep physically and psychologically well.

Elephants are active animals and travel miles and miles every day. In Woodland Park zoo, they have a measly acre to pace in—when they’re let outside.

The elephants at Woodland Park Zoo deserve to be released to a sanctuary. The wheels are in motion. Public opinion is changing and people are siding with the elephants. It’s time, in the words of Mr. Hancocks, to “do what’s best for the elephants.”

Please write to the zoo at:

Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N. 59th Street, Seattle, WA  98103
Email: woodlandparkzoopr@zoo.org and zooinfo@zoo.org

Address letters to:

  • Dr. Deborah B. Jensen, President and CEO
  • Bruce Bohmke, Chief Operations Officer
  • Jamie Creola, VIce President of Education
  • Dr. Darin Collins, Director of Animal Health
  • Dr. Nancy Hawkes, General Curator
  • Valerie Krueger, Director of Finance
  • David Schaefer, Director of Communications & Public Affairs
  • Gigi Allianic, Media and Public Relations

Also please write the mayor, your city council member, and especially Sally Bagshaw the Parks Committee Chair.

Mike McGinn, Mayor
mike.mcginn@seattle.gov, 206-684-4000

Sally Bagshaw, Seattle City Council, Parks Committee Chair
sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov, 206-684-8801

Richard Conlin, Seattle City Council, Council President
richard.conlin@seattle.gov, 206-684-8805

Sally J. Clark, Seattle City Council
sally.clark@seattle.gov, 206-684-8802

Nick Licata, Seattle City Council
nick.licata@seattle.gov, 206-684-8803

Bruce Harrell, Seattle City Council
bruce.harrell@seattle.gov, 206-684-8804

Tim Burgess, Seattle City Council
tim.burgess@seattle.gov, 206-684-8806

Jean Godden, Seattle City Council
jean.godden@seattle.gov, 206-684-8807

Tom Rasmussen, Seattle City Council
tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov, 206-684-8808

Mike O’Brien, Seattle City Council
mike.obrien@seattle.gov, 206-684-8800

Deborah Jensen, Woodland Park Zoo President
deborah.jensen@zoo.org, 206-548-2416

Or send a letter to each of the above council members at the following address:
[Name of Councilmember]
Seattle City Hall
P.O. Box 34025
Seattle, WA 98124-4025

Or fax them at 206-684-8587.

You can learn more about the elephants at the zoo and the efforts to release them to a sanctuary, at Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants.

Share