Mixed Feelings At Woodland Park Zoo On Day After Elephants Leave | KUOW News and Information

Mixed Feelings At Woodland Park Zoo On Day After Elephants Leave

Apr 16, 2015

Thursday was the first day at Woodland Park Zoo without its elephants. Chai and Bamboo are on their way to Oklahoma City. KUOW’s Joshua McNichols has more.


A federal judge denied an emergency injunction Wednesday. That cleared the way for Woodland Park to send the elephants to another zoo.

There were mixed feelings Thursday as kids and their parents passed by Seattle’s empty elephant exhibit. Jessie Goltz brought her 6-year-old son Dante Acevedo.

GOLTZ: "Dante, how did you feel that the elephants went away?"


GOLTZ: "Why?"

ACEVEDO: "Because I love elephants."

Because he loves elephants. And also, because they can use their trunk as a hand.

GOLTZ: "When he saw the sign that it was closed and they were no longer here he started crying."

KUOW: "What did you tell him?"

GOLTZ: "I said ‘I’m sorry the elephants aren’t here and we didn’t get to say goodbye.’"

The zoo snuck them out Wednesday night without giving the public any notice.

The move caught Alyne Fortgang by surprise too. She had wanted to get the elephants sent to a sanctuary, instead of to another zoo.

FORTGANG: "Yeah, I really had trouble sleeping last night."

She kept thinking about the elephants, in their trucks on their way over the pass.

FORTGANG: “We failed them, the city failed them. I just … I just sometimes wonder why right doesn't win out.”

KUOW: “How’d you finally get to sleep?”

FORTGANG: “I took an antihistamine."

Cockroaches are among the many animals one can still see at the zoo.
Credit KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

But there are plenty of other animals to learn about here at the zoo. Four-year-old Opal Haggen has one animal in mind:

HAGGEN: "Piggies!"

And the Family Farm exhibit has some, Baxter and Barkley.

Meanwhile, Chai and Bamboo were set to arrive in Oklahoma City on Friday.

Correction, 4/17/15, 1:30 p.m.: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described how many pigs are at the Woodland Park Zoo. There are two.