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Tacoma - Tell Pt. Defiance Zoo To Stop Keeping Elephants

Please Attend Public Meeting April 21 Or April 25

IDA has just learned that the Pt. Defiance Zoo in Tacoma will be holding a series of public meetings to gather input from the community to guide the zoo's 10-year strategic plan. We are very encouraged that one proposed item is a Pt Defiance Zoo elephants, Tacoma, Washingtonphase-out of the elephant exhibit, based on the need for a costly expansion and an expected shortage of Asian elephants.

Please attend one of the meetings if you can and be prepared to speak in favor of ending the elephant program. The zoo currently holds two female Asian elephants, 48-year-old Hanako and 47-year-old Suki, in a small exhibit that does not meet their physical, social or psychological needs.

Participate in a public meeting:

  • Thursday, April 21, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
    Tacoma Nature Center, 1919 South Tyler Street

or ...

  • Monday, April 25, 4:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.
    Metro Parks Headquarters Board Room, 4702 South 19th Street

If you are unable to attend a public meeting, you can:

  • E-mail your comments to the zoo at
  • Send written comments to: Attention Strategic Plan, 5400 North Pearl St. Tacoma, WA 98407
  • We also encourage you to post your comments on the zoo's Facebook page as it will enable other community members to see that there is support for ending the elephant exhibit.

In your comments, whether in person or in writing, please be supportive of the zoo's willingness to consider ending its elephant program, and avoid being confrontational. We want to support this first step by the zoo. Keep your comments respectful, and if you are not from Tacoma but have visited the zoo, please be sure to include that.

Suggested points to make:

  • Support the zoo for its willingness to consider a phase-out of the elephant exhibit, but express your concern that waiting for one elephant to die before phasing out the exhibit is inhumane for the remaining elephant.
  • Tell the zoo it should consider moving the elephants now to a spacious, natural-habitat sanctuary where they will form new social bonds that provide the emotional support elephants need from other elephants. It would also allow the zoo to save money, as elephants are the most expensive animals to keep in a zoo. Those funds could be used to improve the lives of other animals at the zoo.
  • Elephants require large spaces to move, and even with a costly, multi-million dollar expansion the zoo cannot provide the space or natural conditions that elephants need to thrive.

For more information:, 323-301-5730. 

In Defense of Animals, located in San Rafael, Calif., is an international animal protection organization with more than 100,000 members and supporters dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals by protecting their rights and welfare. IDA's efforts include educational events, cruelty investigations, boycotts, grassroots activism, and hands-on rescue through our sanctuaries in Mississippi, Mumbai, India, and Cameroon, Africa.

In Defense of Animals is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We welcome your feedback and appreciate your donations. Please join today! All donations to IDA are tax-deductible.

In Defense of Animals
3010 Kerner, San Rafael, CA 94901
Tel. (415) 448-0048 Fax (415) 454-1031

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