Elephants have long played a role in the community and in our hearts. At Woodland Park Zoo, we have cared for elephants since we received our first one in 1921, funded in part by donations from local school children.
I am pleased to announce that the zoo will commit $1.5 to $3 million to strengthen the Asian elephant program at the zoo, as well as play a key role in multiple elephant conservation arenas.
This pledge follows a six-month, critical and thorough external review of the zoo’s elephant program by the Elephant Task Force—a panel of local community representatives and internationally-distinguished scientists and animal care professionals—and a review of the Task Force’s report by the zoo’s Board of Directors and staff.
The new strategic direction of the zoo’s elephant program endorses many of the options given to the zoo by the Elephant Task Force, plus additional information regarding the zoo’s elephants, elephant conservation and education efforts. Key elements of the program entail:
Focusing the zoo’s Elephant Forest exhibit on the highly endangered Asian elephant species and growing the zoo’s program to support and implement the goals of the Species Survival Plan for Asian elephants, which is managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Making significant improvements to the Elephant Forest exhibit and facilities
Playing an active role in the Wildlife Conservation Society’s international 96 Elephants conservation campaign: securing effective U.S. moratorium laws on ivory sales and bolstering elephant protection with additional advocacy funding; and educating the public about the devastating effects of the ivory trade.
Increasing the zoo’s commitment to Asian elephant conservation with our partner organizations in range countries.
Developing enhanced guest experiences and educational programming in the Elephant Forest exhibit, allowing guests to interact with the zoo’s elephants and staff, and learn how they can make an impact in elephant conservation.
Providing leadership to the next phase of AZA elephant welfare research and applied practice.
|Getting up close to an elephant is an unforgettable experience at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.|
|Elephant raiding an oil palm plantation in Asia. Photo courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo Partner for Wildlife, Hutan Asian Elephant Conservation Project.|
|African elephant Watoto at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Dennis Conner/Woodland Park Zoo.|
– See more at: http://woodlandparkzblog.blogspot.com/2014/03/new-strategic-vision-for-elephant.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+WoodlandParkZBlog+%28Woodland+Park+Zoo+Blog+%7C+Naturally+Inspiring%29#sthash.dNMK6qYJ.dpuf