Why is the elephant exhibit at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium inadequate for future elephants but fine for Hanako and Suki now? PDZA’s 10-year plan proposes phasing out the elephant exhibit due to the “need to expand the physical footprint”—unfortunately, after Hanako or Suki dies. Why wait?
Hanako and Suki were born genetically wired to walk great distances. Science has shown that movement is critical to their physical and psychological health. Yet they are caged in a one-acre pen devoid of a single living tree. Inside, they are locked in a tiny, barren stall.
The 2,700-acre Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is the humane option. Its thousands of acres are teeming with the richness of nature: hills blanketed with forests, vast meadows, a 25-acre lake — and 14 elephants. Given the choice, these social animals choose to be with elephants, not humans.
By moving both elephants now, and to the sanctuary rather than another small urban zoo, Hanako and Suki can integrate into a stable herd. When one of them dies, the survivor will have companions to provide comfort — just as in the wild.
PDZA has the opportunity to impart a valuable lesson of compassion to our children by allowing Hanako and Suki to have the best life possible, immediately.