The task force, created by the Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ) Board of Directors, conducted an objective and transparent review of WPZ elephants’ health and care, and the value of the elephant program and exhibit to the zoo’s education and conservation objectives.
The WPZ Board of Directors’ charged the task force with conducting a data-driven, objective review of the zoo’s elephant program, exhibit and current elephant welfare and to produce a report to the board. It discussed the status of elephants in the world, the threats to their survival and the options for care of managed elephants at the Woodland Park Zoo.
The task force met approximately once a month between April and October. Task force meetings were open and the meetings were videotaped. All documents provided to task force members, and videotape recordings of the meetings, are available on this website. The public will be able to submit written comments at task force meetings and on the website. Public comments were analyzed and presented at every meeting. The public was asked to provide written comment on the findings of the task force.
Members visited the elephant exhibit, reviewed materials, and received a series of presentations about elephant conservation and education programs by zoo staff and by outside experts representing different perspectives. The task force meetings focused on presentation from panelists and discussions among members.
The task force asked an expert review panel to evaluate health and care of the Woodland Park Zoo elephants. The expert review panel members are outside scientific and medical experts. The panelists examined the WPZ elephants, their facilities, review records and interviewed zoo staff. Specifically, the panel addressed three issues:
- Health status of the elephants at WPZ
- Social well-being of the elephants at WPZ
- The elephant breeding program at WPZ
The panel produced a report and presented it to the task force.
At the conclusion of its work, the task force produced a report and presented it to the WPZ Board of Directors. The report included an analysis of their work, overview of the issues discussed by the task force and their findings included suggestions for further consideration by the WPZ board.
The work of the task force was completed on October 22nd, 2013 with the transmittal of the task force’s final report to the Woodland Park Zoo Board of Directors.
UPDATE: For those interested in the Woodland Park Zoo’s response to the recommendations of the Elephant Task Force, and the latest plans for the WPZ’s Elephant Program, please see the following statement from the Zoo dated Friday, March 28th, 2014: Elephant Futures Announcement.