Protest, vigil held outside Woodland Park Zoo after elephant euthanized

Aug 23, 2014, 11:44 PM | Updated: Aug 24, 2014, 12:00 am
A group of protesters held a vigil outside the Woodland Park Zoo Saturday, a day after an African e...
A group of protesters held a vigil outside the Woodland Park Zoo Saturday, a day after an African elephant was euthanized. (MyNorthwest.com/Alyssa Kleven)
(MyNorthwest.com/Alyssa Kleven)

A group of protesters held a vigil outside the Woodland Park Zoo Saturday, a day after an African elephant was euthanized.

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants claim Watoto’s exhibit was an “exceptionally poor environment” and its cramped quarters contributed to her suffering a “host of captivity related diseases.”

The 45-year-old elephant was found by zoo employees Friday morning lying down in the elephant yard and not able to stand upright. After failed attempts to get Watoto on her feet and a health team’s assessment that her condition was quickly declining, she was euthanized.

The findings from a full necropsy will be released in the coming weeks.

The zoo said Watoto was born in Kenya between 1969 and 1970 and came to Seattle in 1971 as an orphan. She was considered to be the matriarch of the zoo’s herd.

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants said the two remaining elephants at the Seattle zoo, Bamboo and Chai, must be moved to a sanctuary. They are calling on Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council for help.

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Protest, vigil held outside Woodland Park Zoo after elephant euthanized