ELEPHANT NEWS AND UPDATES
May 13, 2015
Chai and Bamboo at Oklahoma City Zoo
Bamboo at Oklahoma City Zoo
Oklahoma City Zoo announces arrival of Asian elephants
The following update is issued jointly by Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden and Woodland Park Zoo
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden (OKC Zoo) is proud to announce the arrival of Asian elephants, Bamboo and Chai from Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ) in Seattle, who have been temporarily residing at the San Diego Zoo. The elephants safely stepped onto Oklahoma City soil Wednesday, May 13, 2015, at 3:00 a.m. (CDT).
“We are excited to have these two new members join our family,” said Dwight Lawson, PhD, OKC Zoo executive director/CEO. “This journey has always been about the best care possible for Bamboo and Chai. We’ve witnessed an incredible collaboration of three Association of Zoo and Aquarium-accredited zoos, which kept the well-being of Bamboo and Chai at the forefront of their transition. We are grateful to the Oklahoma City community for the outpouring of support and well wishes on behalf of the elephants, to the San Diego Zoo for temporarily accommodating Bamboo and Chai, and to the Woodland Park Zoo team who has worked tirelessly with high standards of professionalism,” said Lawson.
“We’re pleased to report that Bamboo and Chai remained bright, alert, and in good condition throughout the road trip,” said Martin Ramirez, Woodland Park Zoo’s mammal curator who was among elephant care staff accompanying the caravan. “During the welfare check stops, they showed normal behavior, interacted positively with our staff and ate hay, pellets and hand-fed fruit treats.” In addition to the stops every few hours, closed circuit cameras allowed staff to monitor the animals remotely in real time.
Dr. Jennifer D’Agostino, Oklahoma City Zoo Director of Veterinary Services added, “Both Bamboo and Chai looked great this morning. They immediately interacted with the Woodland Park Zoo staff, ate snacks including watermelon, cantaloupe, raisins and hay, enjoyed sand baths and explored their surroundings.”
The new elephants will be in quarantine for 30 days, a standard procedure for new animal arrivals at the Zoo. They will be in close proximity to the Zoo’s existing elephant herd but with only visual, auditory and olfactory engagement during the quarantine period. However, as soon as conditions are suitable, the new elephants may be seen outside in a separate elephant yard viewable to Zoo guests. After the quarantine period, the new elephants will be gradually introduced to the existing elephant herd. In addition, Woodland Park Zoo’s elephant staff will spend as much time as necessary with Bamboo and Chai to help ease their transition and settle them into their new surroundings.
Bamboo, 48, and Chai, 36, lived at WPZ for many years. The zoo, however, recently phased out its on-site elephant program. After months of carefully evaluating potential homes, WPZ leadership and staff selected the OKC Zoo as the best facility for the well-being and overall care of the elephants. WPZ’s criteria, based on recommendations from animal welfare experts, included a social herd of Asian elephants into which Chai and Bamboo could successfully integrate, a state-of-the-art facility, a healthy environment free of active infectious disease, a high-caliber elephant keeper and veterinary staff, a restricted contact elephant management system, and an established history of stable finances and leadership.
These recent additions bring the OKC Zoo’s Asian elephant herd to seven. Bamboo and Chai join female Asha, 20; female Chandra, 18, the sister of Asha; female Malee, 4, the daughter of Asha; female Achara, 5 months, the daughter of Asha and the Zoo’s sole male, Rex, 47. Asian elephants are listed as critically endangered with an estimated 38,000 to 51,000 remaining in the wild and approximately 139 currently living in AZA-accredited facilities.
Watch for updates on our newest family members and all things OKC Zoo via the Zoo’s website and social media platforms. Find us at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit www.okczoo.com.
“Oklahoma City Zoo is the best choice and meets our requirements to provide the best social welfare in a healthy environment for Bamboo and Chai,” said Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO Dr. Deborah Jensen. “They will have an opportunity to live and socialize with more elephants and they will continue to receive the same kind of exemplary care they received during their lifetime at Woodland Park Zoo.”
“Adding Bamboo and Chai will help round out our family. Their maturity, plus experience with a baby, will be valuable in broadening the social dynamics of our herd. We look forward to having these new members join our family,” said Dwight Lawson, PhD, OKC Zoo executive director/CEO.
The OKC Zoo new Elephant Habitat opened in March 2011. The $13 million, state-of-the-art exhibit spans 9.5 acres, with 3.95 acres available for the elephants, and includes three spacious outdoor yards, a waterfall and a technologically-advanced barn with amenities including views into the barn from a raised boardwalk. The Elephant Barn is 12,636 square feet with about 2,000 square feet of support space (mechanical rooms, keeper work space, second floor office), and features eight separate stalls with different configuration opportunities plus a community stall with sand substrate. Other barn highlights include a radiant floor heating system, a raised office with 360° view of interior, ambient lighting through windows and skylights and hydraulic-operated animal gates. A pavilion seats more than 400 guests for elephant lovers to observe presentations demonstrating natural elephant behaviors including daily routines such as baths, foot care and training sessions.
Read the Elephant Arrival Q&A
May 12, 2015
Elephants Chai and Bamboo continue their journey to Oklahoma City Zoo
Asian elephants Chai and Bamboo departed San Diego Zoo yesterday evening to continue their journey to Oklahoma City Zoo.
Accompanied by five Woodland Park Zoo elephant care staff, three veterinarians and six expert animal transport staff, the elephants are traveling in separate, ventilated crates equipped with heating and evaporative cooler units, as well as closed circuit cameras that allow staff to monitor the animals remotely in real time.
Read full news story
May 8, 2015
Court denies motion for temporary restraining order
The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington today denied a second request for an injunction preventing Woodland Park Zoo from transporting Bamboo and Chai to the Oklahoma City Zoo. The District Court emphasized the evidence indicating that Bamboo and Chai remained in good health during and after the trip to San Diego and the zoo’s planning and preparation for the continuation of the transport to Oklahoma City. Following is a statement released by Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO Dr. Deborah Jensen:
Read the full statement
May 1, 2015
Letter from Jane Goodall regarding Bamboo and Chai
Ms. Goodall has respectfully asked for time to review the issues more closely while she reconsiders her viewpoint. We continue to provide her with information and access to sources as needed.
Woodland Park Zoo had the opportunity to speak with esteemed conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall and provide her access to more information about elephants Bamboo and Chai including the careful planning that went into identifying their new home.
After reviewing the information available to her and consulting her network of professional colleagues, Dr. Goodall sent the following letter to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess, and Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO Dr. Deborah Jensen:
Click to read the letter in full
April 28, 2015
Peanut butter balls a hit for Woodland Park Zoo elephants at San Diego Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo’s female Asian elephants Bamboo and Chai are indulging in peanut butter balls and fruitsicles at their temporary home at San Diego Zoo.
Read the full article here
April 22, 2015
Woodland Park Zoo elephants 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.
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.
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.
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