96 ELEPHANTS

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ELEPHANT NEWS AND UPDATES

 

April 22, 2015

Woodland Park Zoo elephants continue to do well at San Diego Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo’s female Asian elephants, Bamboo and Chai, continue to do well at San Diego Zoo.

The elephants were headed to their new home at Oklahoma City Zoo when a severe change in a forecasted storm rerouted the caravan to the south. A conservative decision was made In Las Vegas for animal welfare precautions to go to San Diego Zoo and allow the elephants to rest because the reroute would have extended the trip a day longer. Unfortunately, activists have made unfounded allegations about the elephants, their care and their health. The misinformation is misleading and wrong.

Keepers from Woodland Park Zoo are at San Diego Zoo providing direct care to Bamboo, 48, and Chai, 36. “Their activity levels are normal and both continue to eat heartily, sleep and interact with their keepers,” said Dr. Kelly Helmick, associate veterinarian at Woodland Park Zoo, “and we are pleased to report that they continue to do well,” said Helmick.

Extensive planning went into ensuring a safe transport for the elephants, as it does for all the zoo’s animals, and the transport consultant has specialized in moving elephants for nearly three decades. On April 15, Bamboo and Chai left Woodland Park Zoo on a custom-built elephant transport vehicle for their new home at Oklahoma City Zoo. The weather forecast was a possible minor disturbance for the mid-west region later in the week, more to the south. It was during a late afternoon stop in Ogden, Utah on April 16 when the team learned the storm had been updated to increased severity and to cover a much larger area more to the north. The decision was made to reroute south to Las Vegas then Kingman, Ariz. and take I-40.

Round-the-clock monitoring via live-feed cameras enabled the animal care and veterinary staff to monitor the elephants, as well as stops every few hours to provide food and change water. Stops became more frequent to check on the welfare of the elephants, which slowed down the travel time. In Las Vegas, the team assessed the elephants were getting tired. “As a precaution, we concluded we did not want to keep them on the road an additional day and decided to take a break from the journey and give the elephants a chance to rest and stretch their legs. Despite inaccurate claims by activist campaigns, Bamboo did not have colic,” affirmed Helmick, who was one of two veterinarians among the support staff traveling with the caravan and is closely familiar with Bamboo.

A decision was made to change course and head to San Diego Zoo who was prepared with the appropriate equipment to unload Bamboo and Chai, immediate room, and expert elephant and veterinary staff.

Both elephants bathed, ate, drank, and interacted with their keepers throughout the journey and they walked off the crates on their own at San Diego Zoo without any concerns. “Bamboo and Chai quickly resumed a normal routine, eating, drinking, and resting inside San Diego Zoo’s facility,” added Helmick.

Woodland Park Zoo still plans on moving forward with its plans to relocate Bamboo and Chai to Oklahoma City Zoo where they can join a family with a larger, multi-generational herd. “We are in the process of evaluating a timeline for resuming the trip while keeping the health and welfare of Bamboo and Chai our top priority,” said Dr. Deborah Jensen, Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO. “The diverted route to San Diego Zoo was unexpected. There are many logistics to coordinate such as staffing and transportation, and we want our elephants to be fully rested. We continue to be grateful to San Diego Zoo for accommodating our elephants and providing expert staff support.”

Read the full statement




April 20, 2015

Woodland Park Zoo elephants are resting at San Diego Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo’s female Asian elephants, Bamboo and Chai, spent the weekend at San Diego Zoo after their trip to Oklahoma City Zoo was rerouted due to a storm in Colorado and Wyoming that was expected to increase in severity. The pair continues to rest in comfort.

According to Dr. Nancy Hawkes, Woodland Park Zoo’s general curator, Bamboo, 48, and Chai, 36, are eating, sleeping and interacting with their keepers, all positive signs they are doing well. “Blood draws and other tests show no evidence of medical concerns. Both elephants are hydrated and they are moving about normally,” said Hawkes.

While at San Diego Zoo, the elephants are in an indoor facility in quarantine, which is standard procedure for any new animal at the zoo. The elephants have access to two large indoor rooms and an outdoor yard, all of which are off view to the public.

Woodland Park Zoo’s keepers are providing direct care to Bamboo and Chai; additional staff from the zoo flew to San Diego on Friday to assist and more are flying down this week. “While in transition at San Diego Zoo, it’s very comforting for our elephants that their keepers are present and taking care of them. Bamboo is showing signs of contentment by rumbling and purring to her keepers.” The keepers also are providing enrichment such as browse and hay feeders.

Extensive planning went into ensuring a safe transport for the elephants, as it does for all the zoo’s animals, and the transport consultant has specialized in moving elephants for nearly three decades. On April 15, Bamboo and Chai left Woodland Park Zoo on a custom-built elephant transport vehicle for their new home at Oklahoma City Zoo. The 2,000-mile journey was to take 35 to 40 hours, with stops every few hours to check on the animals’ well-being and to provide food and change water. The weather forecast was a possible minor disturbance for the mid-west region later in the week, more to the south. It was during a late afternoon stop in Ogden, Utah on April 16 when the team learned the storm had been updated to increased severity and to cover a much larger area more to the north. The decision was made to reroute south to Las Vegas then Kingman, Ariz. and take I-40.

Continuing on the southerly route would have kept the elephants on the road an extra day. Stops became more frequent to check on the welfare of the elephants, which slowed down the travel time. “In Las Vegas, the team assessed the elephants were getting tired and as a precaution we changed course to head to San Diego Zoo,” said Deborah Jensen, Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO. “Their facility is set up with the appropriate equipment to unload our elephants, they had immediate room, and they have expert elephant and veterinary staff. Unfortunately, weather fronts and systems change unexpectedly. We would not have put our animals or our staff at risk had a severe storm been forecasted when they left Seattle.”

Woodland Park Zoo still plans on moving Bamboo and Chai to Oklahoma City Zoo where they can join a family with a larger, multi-generational herd, however, a timeline has not been determined when they will get on the road again. “For now we want to give our elephants some time to rest comfortably. We are very grateful to San Diego Zoo for mobilizing so quickly to accommodate our elephants and for their expert staff support,” said Jensen.


Video of Bamboo and Chai taken today at San Diego Zoo


April 17, 2015

Inclement weather reroutes elephants to San Diego Zoo

Two days ago, Woodland Park Zoo’s female Asian elephants, Bamboo and Chai, departed on a custom-built elephant transport vehicle for their new home at Oklahoma City Zoo. The caravan had to change their route in Salt Lake City due to a storm in Colorado and Wyoming that was expected to increase in severity. Because the reroute would have extended the trip a day longer, a decision was made for veterinary precautions to go to San Diego Zoo and allow the elephants to rest. 

A total of three elephant experts, two veterinarians and three staff with the transportation consultant are accompanying the truck transporting Bamboo and Chai. The team has been making stops every few hours for wellness checks on the elephants and to provide food and change water. 

According to Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo, an extra day on the road would have been challenging for Bamboo and Chai. “For their well-being, we made the proactive decision to head to San Diego Zoo. They have expert elephant and veterinary staff, the room to accommodate our elephants and the appropriate equipment on site to unload our elephants,” said Ramirez.

On arrival at San Diego Zoo, Bamboo and Chai have been unloaded from the travel crates into an indoor facility where the elephants will be in quarantine, which is standard procedure for any new animal at the zoo. The indoor facility and outdoor yard are off view to the public.
 
Woodland Park Zoo’s and San Diego Zoo’s veterinarians have done a preliminary health assessment on each elephant. “Understandably, just as after a long road trip ourselves, both elephants are tired and show signs of muscle stiffness. They both need the time to walk around, stretch their legs, and adjust to their new surroundings. We don’t know how long our elephants will stay at San Diego Zoo. We want to give them time to rest comfortably,” said Ramirez.

“We are extremely grateful that San Diego Zoo has opened its home to accept Bamboo and Chai at this time. We are fortunate that the expert team at San Diego Zoo is available to provide this assistance and accommodation,” said Dr. Deborah Jensen, Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO. “We are disappointed that we couldn’t continue on to Oklahoma City, but the health and welfare of our elephants come first. We did not want to keep them on the road an additional day.”

“The Oklahoma City Zoo team stands ready to assist in any capacity for Bamboo, Chai and our Woodland Park Zoo colleagues. Collaborative efforts among Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos including Woodland Park, San Diego and Oklahoma City continue to focus on the safety, well-being and preservation of the animals in our care,” said Dr. Dwight Lawson, Oklahoma City Zoo Director and CEO.

San Diego Zoo’s Elephant Care Center opened in 2009. San Diego Zoo currently has a mixed Asian and African elephant herd in which the six females are socially integrated and a bull lives separately. 

Read the Q&A

 

 

April 15, 2015

Elephants are on the road to Oklahoma City Zoo

A new chapter began for female Asian elephants Bamboo and Chai when they stepped into elephant-sized travel crates, were loaded on the flatbed truck, and left Woodland Park Zoo for their new home at Oklahoma City Zoo. The truck pulled out at 6:15 p.m. PST today, April 15. 

Read the full news statement


April 15, 2015

Appeal is denied for federal preliminary injunction

Statement available from Dr. Deborah Jensen, President and CEO of Woodland Park Zoo

Read the statement

 

April 3, 2015

Woodland Park Zoo wins preliminary injunction lawsuit

Statement from Dr. Deborah Jensen, President and CEO of Woodland Park Zoo.

Read the Statement

 

March 10, 2015

Setting the record straight

Woodland Park Zoo offers clarifications and corrections to inaccuracies made in recent publications.

Get the facts

 


February 27, 2015

Woodland Park Zoo’s elephants Bamboo and Chai to join an elephant family at Oklahoma City Zoo

After three months of carefully evaluating potential homes for its two female Asian elephants, 48-year-old Bamboo and 36-year-old Chai, Woodland Park Zoo has selected Oklahoma City Zoo, which has a family of Asian elephants including multi-generations. The zoo anticipates moving the elephants between late March and mid-April.

Read the full article





November 27, 2014

Guest: Woodland Park Zoo’s elephants belong in another zoo, not a sanctuary
David Towne (Special to the Seattle Times)

 

Read the full article

 



November 19, 2014

Woodland Park Zoo to phase out its elephant program

Plans will begin for relocating elephants to an AZA-accredited institution.

 

Read the full article

 



September 8, 2014

Setting the Record Straight

Get the facts about Woodland Park Zoo elephants

 


August 25, 2014

Woodland Park Zoo asks community to remember African elephant Watoto

Read the full story

 

 

March 28, 2014

Plans for elephant program

Read the full press release

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

Get the real story on the elephant program and find helpful corrections and clarifications to misinformation you may have seen.

Read more

 

TALK TO US

You can reach out to us by contacting:
elephants@zoo.org

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Elephant Relocation Q&A
Read through these commonly asked questions and answers to learn more.

Elephant family in Kinabatangan, Hutan

ELEPHANT CONSERVATION IN THE FIELD

Learn more about Woodland Park Zoo's elephant conservation work with its Partners for Wildlife in Asia and Africa.

Hutan Asian Elephant Conservation Project

Tanzania Wildlife Migration: Tarangire Elephants

 
 

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