A new organization, Oklahoma Friends of Elephants (OFE), has been established in response to the Oklahoma City Zoo’s recent efforts to put up obstacles for those seeking records about the health conditions and treatment of its elephants and to try to protect the animals’ overall welfare and treatment.
— Global March Seattle (@GMFERL_Seattle) August 30, 2016
The new OFE Facebook page can be found here. I’m a part of establishing this new organization. I urge you to like the page and consider the issues about the overall health conditions right now of all the zoo’s elephants and whether elephants, in general, should live out their days in small, captive enclosures.
Here’s a link to an Oklahoma Activist Pointing left podcast that deals with the issue.
I published a a post here on Aug. 22 about personally obtaining information from a open-records request by the Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephants in Seattle. The organization has been concerned about the health condition of 49-year-old Bamboo, who came from Seattle last year, along with 37-year-old Chai, who died recently at the OKC Zoo. The group had vehemently opposed the move and wanted the elephants placed in a sanctuary. The Seattle zoo recently closed its elephant exhibit.
Another elephant, 4-year-old Malee, recently died at the OKC Zoo as well.
The zoo had been giving the Seattle organization the records electronically but then shifted policy and now demanded a representative from the group show up in person to retrieve records. The organization asked me to do so, which I did, but the zoo has now reversed its policy and will distribute the records electronically again, according to an article in NewsOK.com.
The records show that Bamboo has been bitten on her tail by one or more of the elephants. Bamboo, it has been reported, also attacked another elephant earlier. These events at least give the appearance that the Seattle elephants never integrated into the “herd.” I put quote marks around “herd” because I would raise the question of whether a small groups of animals of the same species placed in small captive enclosures can be considered a “herd” in any natural sense of how we might define that word.
Again, here is my post. Sandi Doughton, a writer for The Seattle Times, published an excellent article on Bamboo’s condition after my post, offering additional information that I lacked while framing the issue in much-needed perspective for readers.
The zoo has responded by claiming the tail bites and other elephant behavior in the exhibit mentioned in various articles is basically normal and that Bamboo is “doing great.”
As I mentioned in my own post, I’m not a big proponent of zoos. But I won’t make that larger argument in this post. I do think the zoo, in a good faith effort, should immediately place Bamboo in sanctuary for her protection and the protection of the other elephants. The zoo should also start considering closing the elephant exhibit.
OFE was formed locally by local people and will try to put pressure on the zoo to close the exhibit before more elephants die or get injured.
Again, the first step is to move Bamboo to a sanctuary, and then an intelligent and reasonable discussion about keeping elephants in captivity in small enclosures should commence here among city and zoo leaders. Let’s hope that happens soon.
— KIRO 7 (@KIRO7Seattle) August 25, 2016