Actress Lily Tomlin is making a special trip to Phinney Ridge on Monday morning to speak out against what she calls the suffering of Woodland Park Zoo‘s elephants.
Tomlin’s visit is sponsored by Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephants (FOWPZE), a campaign of Northwest Animal Rights Network and In Defense of Animals (IDA), a national zoo watchdog group. Tomlin will speak at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., at 11 a.m. in Room 1.
“Elephants were never meant to live in the confinement of small urban zoos,” Tomlin says in a press release. “They are the world’s largest land mammals and they need to move to stay healthy.”
Instead, she’d like Watoto, Chai and Bamboo to move to the 2,700-acre Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.
I’ve got a message into Woodland Park Zoo for a response to Tomlin’s visit; I’ll update this post as soon as I hear back.
Here’s the zoo’s response:
As far as we know, Ms. Tomlin has not visited our zoo and has no knowledge of the excellent elephant program and care of our herd.
The elephants at the Woodland Park Zoo receive the highest quality care, from experienced elephant-care experts and board-certified veterinarians with approximately 160 combined years of elephant management experience. The award-winning elephant exhibit is among Woodland Park Zoo’s renowned naturalistic exhibits and a Best Exhibit Award recipient by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The zoo’s general curator is an expert in reproductive biology, and the chief elephant curator has more than 25 years working in elephant management programs and is an administrator and instructor for AZA’s “Principles of Elephant Management.
Ms. Tomlin is a great comedian, but we prefer to base our decisions about elephant care on the work of experts in the field.