Taxpayers Sue over Mistreatment of Elephants at the Woodland Park Zoo

With representation from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, two Seattle, WA residents, Mary Sebek and Nancy Farnam, are suing the city to stop the use of taxpayer dollars to support the Woodland Park Zoo’s elephant exhibit.

They’re arguing that the treatment of the zoo’s three elephants Bamboo, Watoto and Chai is violating local anti-cruelty laws. The goal of the suit is to have the elephants moved to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

“As a result of inadequate facilities, abusive management practices, longstanding intentional neglect, and breeding practices in callous disregard for elephants’ welfare, the Zoo’s elephants Bamboo, Watoto, and Chai suffer from severe and chronic foot and joint injuries, unexplained physical trauma and bleeding, and sustained psychological harm. Chai’s daughter, Hansa, died in 2007 when she was only six years old as a result of the Zoo’s practices. A fourth Woodland Park Zoo elephant, Sri, who is currently on loan to another zoo’s breeding program, has endured the horror of carrying a full-term deceased fetus in her womb for over four years.,” according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Sign the petition asking the city of Seattle to pull the financial plug on Woodland Park Zoo’s elephant exhibit. 

creative commons


W. C
W. C2 months ago


William C
William C2 months ago

Thank you for caring.

Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan6 years ago

This is horrific, I hope they are moved soon and the people responsible prosecuted.

Vicky Slay
Vicky SlaySlay6 years ago

Not a pretty picture. These elephants clearly do not have their needs met. Again, I must state that the Sandiego Zoo has the right habitat for elephants. I check in on them every week to see how they are doing. They love their keepers who relate to them only at a distance to throw them fruit or if confined the elephants raise their feet to be cared for and they do. I check via the internet. There is a lot of acreage for them to roam and ponds or even mud holes for them. Lots of food hidden or in clear sight so they can forage like the wild. They have a lot of elephants there who seem to be happy and not distressed like the one in this video. These elephants need to be moved. It is a shame humans cannot realize their needs.

gallou p.
priscilla gallou7 years ago

pauvres elephants les individus qui leurs font subir ce triste sort n ont pas de coeur il voient que l apat de l argent on devrait les enfermer pareil ils predraient concience de la soufrance q uis font subir a ces animaux surment plus humains qu eux

mariya s.
Mari S7 years ago

Where there is animal abuse and neglect and callous disregard for the welfare of animals, in this case, the elephants -- they should be moved immediately to a sanctuary where they can live with caring and love and whatever else is required for them to be happy. This zoo -- Woodland Park -- should be held accountable along with all of its staff for their cruel, shameful and unconscionable behavior towards the elephants. They make me sick!

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat7 years ago


Anne E. Kabala M.
Anne McEnroe7 years ago

P.s. THANK YOU Mary and Nancy! You are the hope we need!! :) You both are a blessing!

Anne E. Kabala M.
Anne McEnroe7 years ago

Do we STILL have zoos? WHY? Wasn't Discovery's Planet Earth Enough? I mean, c'mon this isn't the 18th century. You wanna see wild animals in their natural habitat turn on the tube and watch the Discovery Channel!

Not real enough for you? Then buy a big screen high def T.V. and surround sound with your credit card. Still not enough? Then buy yourself a cheap airline ticket from any of the failing, CEO/ VP stealing airlines that don't give a damn about their pilots, employees, or customers, and fly yourself to a government corrupted country too see the endangered species that people that people don't appreciate or respect.... just some ideas.

Cheryl K.
Cheryl Kerner7 years ago

Dear Judith H.

I didn't address specifics in my previous email since I felt the statement that the allegations were patently false pretty much covered it. To address your specific question, however: the video is obviously looped to show a very short clip over and over - sort of like taking words out of context. Also, if you looked carefully, the clip shows the elephant standing on....omg, it can't be! - earth. The entire outdoor area is natural and inside the barn the floor is cushioned to protect their feet. How do I know? I actually visit the facility and talk to the keepers just a those filing this suit can do.