Anne-Marije Rook
Towing a banner with the message "Zoo elephants suffer", an airplane flew over Woodland Park Zoo and the surrounding neighborhoods for an hour. CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS.

Elephant activists take their message to the air

On Friday, July 15, the Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephants took their protest to the air. Towing a banner with the message "Zoo elephants suffer", an airplane flew over Woodland Park Zoo and the surrounding neighborhoods.

"When people see the aerial message, we hope they will contact the Seattle City Council and WPZ to ask for the release of these long-suffering elephants to the Sanctuary", says Sandy Clinton of Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephants.

As the airplane was coming in from Renton, members of Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants and Sound Animal Rights Alliance lined the West entrance of the Woodland Park Zoo, calling for the release of the Zoo's elephants to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

This is the activists' latest action to free the elephants, a mission that has been going on for years. The elephant activists believe that the space for the elephants at the zoo is far too small and that Watoto, Chai, and Bamboo should be retired permanently to The Elephant Sanctuary, which currently houses 14 elephants on it's 2,700 acres of natural habitat.

Holding signs and banners, the activists send their message to the rush hour traffic as well as the hundreds of guests arriving for the zoo's sold-out 35th annual Jungle Party.

With around 900 guest, the Jungle Party is the zoo's biggest annual fundraiser to support the zoo and raise critical funds.

"Thanks to the support of our community, funds raised at Jungle Party will help ensure we continue exemplary care for our animals, and engaging programs for our community to learn, care and act on behalf of wild animals and their habitats," said Gigi Allianic, the zoo's public relations manager.

"As wild elephants continue to face extreme pressure in Asia and Africa, the generosity of our patrons also will help support elephant conservation projects and three dozen other conservation projects around the world and locally."

Meanwhile, as limousines and town cars arrived for the party, activists braved the rain and cheered as cars honked in support.

The airplane's message could be seen for an hour as it made rounds around Phinney, Greenwood and Fremont before returning to Renton.

To learn more about the Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo, visit www.freewpzelephants.org.

For more information about the Woodland Park Zoo, visit www.zoo.org.

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