Tell the Topeka Zoo to Let Elephants Live Free!

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Posted December 1, 2011 by Rachelle Owen

Elephants Sunda and Tembo have spent more than 30 years on display at the Topeka Zoo, living in an enclosure that offers only three-quarters of an acre of outdoor space, which is actually far larger than their available indoor space. According to charges that the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently filed, the zoo has failed to properly care for the elephants’ feet. Both Sunda and Tembo also likely suffer from painful arthritis. Such conditions are caused by a lifetime of living in a tiny exhibit and standing on hard surfaces, such as concrete. Foot disorders and arthritis can cause intense pain and suffering and are the leading reasons for euthanasia in captive elephants. To make matters worse, Topeka’s bitterly cold winters force Sunda and Tembo to spend many months each year confined indoors.

Elephants are highly social animals who live in matriarchal herds, protect one another, forage for fresh vegetation, play, bathe in rivers, and share mothering responsibilities for the herd’s babies. Their ability to feel pain—as well as sorrow, joy, and happiness—rivals our own. In the wild, elephants walk up to 30 miles a day and are active for up to 18 hours each day. No matter how well intentioned it is, because of space limitations, the Topeka Zoo simply cannot satisfy the physical and social needs of elephants. You can help Sunda and Tembo!

An elephant sanctuary would offer Sunda and Tembo ponds to bathe in, fresh vegetation and foraging opportunities, many acres of natural habitat to roam, and the company of many other elephants.

Take a moment to speak up for Sunda and Tembo now by encouraging officials to make the compassionate decision to retire them to an appropriate sanctuary and permanently close the zoo’s elephant exhibit—Sunda and Tembo need your help now more than ever!

Please send polite comments to:

Brendan Wiley
Zoo Director
Topeka Zoological Park
635 S.W. Gage Blvd.
Topeka, KS 66606-2079

The Honorable Bill Bunten
Mayor of Topeka
215 S.E. Seventh St., Rm. 352
Topeka, KS 66603-3914

Dan Stanley
Interim City Manager
215 S.E. Seventh St., Rm. 352
Topeka, KS 66603-3914

Topeka City Council




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  • Profile photo of EarlGr4y

    692 days ago

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]


    Sent an email to Mr. Bunten and Mr. Wiley, explaining the importance of a large elephant enclosure, large elephant pool and proper foot care. Here in Seattle, the Woodland Park Zoo houses three Elephants; two Asian and one African, Bamboo, Chai and Watoto. The Woodland Park Zoo offers a huge free roaming outdoor, grassy space for their elephants, Recently, the Elephant Task Force visited our zoo, and left giving us an excellent report. Topeka Zoo really needs to give Sunda and Tembo a new home to live out their lives and either end their elephant program and work hard to expand the living space and improve in the care giving. Woodland Park Zoo, daily, bathes their elephants and cares for their feet. Bamboo, Watoto and Chai have been given excellent care through the years. It’s sad not all zoo’s can say the same.

  • Profile photo of kenya

    966 days ago

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]


    elephants are my fave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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