Oklahoma City Zoo: Send Bamboo the Bullied Elephant to a Sanctuary

What should have been a happy ending at a sanctuary for three elephants – Bamboo, Chai and Watoto – when the Woodland Park Zoo announced it would be closing its exhibit has instead become a tragedy, leaving a sole survivor in need of help.

After a lifetime on display being denied the company of her own kind, Watoto, an African elephant, was euthanized before she ever had a chance to experience life outside of a zoo, and there would be no sanctuary retirement for Asian elephants Chai and Bamboo, who were instead sent to the Oklahoma City Zoo.

Tragically, Chai's health declined rapidly and she died just eight months after arriving. Now, while the zoo says Bamboo is doing great, records released by Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants show she is also suffering.

It was hoped she would become the matriarch of the herd in Oklahoma, but she's not going along with that plan. She has attacked a calf, and has been bullied herself on multiple occasions, which has left her with serious injuries. As a result, she is often kept in isolation, which we know is incredibly harmful for such a socially complex species.

Sadly, she also suffers from a number of other health issues and, despite the zoo insisting she is fine, she is clearly not even coming close to thriving in her new home.

Please sign and share this petition asking the Oklahoma City Zoo to immediately take steps to move her to an accredited sanctuary where she can live out her days in peace before it's too late, and to begin phasing out its elephant exhibit entirely.

As someone who is concerned with animal welfare and the plight of captive elephants in the U.S., I am writing to express my extreme outrage and frustration over what's happening to Bamboo, the lone surviving elephant from the Woodland Park Zoo.

The closure of Woodland Park Zoo's elephant exhibit should have had a happy ending that involved sending Bamboo, Chai and Watoto to a sanctuary. Instead, Watoto tragically never had the chance to experience life outside of a zoo before being euthanized in Seattle, and the injustice has extended to Chai, who died after only eight months in you care.

Now, while your representatives continue to insist to the media that all is fine, internal records have made it very obvious that Bamboo is also suffering.


Not only does she continue to suffer from a number of physical ailments, but it is also abundantly clear that she is not integrating with your current herd and has often been kept in isolation - something we know is extremely detrimental for this socially complex species.

I sincerely hope you will accept the fact that Bamboo is not thriving in your care and immediately take steps to send her to an accredited sanctuary where she can live out what time she has left in peace before it's too late.

I also sincerely hope you will end your harmful breeding program and phase out your elephant exhibit. While you claim to support education and conservation, decades of captivity have done nothing to save elephants in the wild who are disappearing at an alarming rate as a result of human activities.


Not only are you failing your alleged mission entirely, you're causing and perpetuating the suffering of amazing individuals who deserve so much more from us.

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