People protest treatment of Woodland Park Zoo elephants

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SEATTLE - People gathered Saturday afternoon at the Woodland Park Zoo to protest the treatment of three elephants.

 

Protesters told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Graham Johnson that they want the zoo to move the elephants to a sanctuary because they are being exploited.

 

“Zoo captivity is inhumane. We know that now. Science has clearly shown the elephants don’t belong in zoo captivity,” said protester Alyne Fortgang.

 

According to the protestors, they said there is mounting evidence that elephants suffer psychologically and physically from being in zoos, but officials with the Woodland Park Zoo disagree.

 

The zoo said the elephants are healthy and well-cared for.

 

The zoo’s collection manager, Bruce Upchurch, said the quality of the elephant space is as important as the size.

 

“They have the opportunity to graze and forage like they would naturally,” said Upchurch.

 

Woodland Park Zoo has two elephants from Asia and one from Africa.

 

A 6-year-old elephant, Hansa, died in 2007.