by Bev Questad
Doesn't everybody love an elephant? This is a four-minute, concise, well-done short on how the elephants are doing at the Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ) in Seattle. Intelligently written, cleverly titled and efficiently presented, this short is a must-see.
Remember when you were young and visited the zoo? Didn't we all ask, at some point, are the animals happy here? Do they miss not being where they came from? Do they like being here all alone? Do they have enough room?
The citizens of Seattle are taking these questions to heart when it comes to the elephants at the WPZ. Ken Moore, a Seattle resident, has taken the unhappy story of these elephants and made an important production that has had almost 2,000 views in the last 7 days on YouTube.
In an interview with It's Just Movies, Ken Moore, director, writer and producer of this short, answered several questions about what motivated him to make this production.
It's Just Movies: How did you get involved in this campaign?
One day in early June 2010 I was struck by the desire to make a focused & distilled case for the elephants, and to post a narrated video on YouTube so people could finally "get it". I wrote up a quick script and sketched out a quick storyboard and showed it to my wife, who has a degree in broadcasting & media. "I like it", she said, and thus began my month-long video project.
This issue of the elephants' well-being is increasingly becoming an item of public concern in the Pacific Northwest. Mary Sebek and Nancy Farnam contracted the law firm Smith & Lowney, PLLC, and in June registered a Complaint for Injunctive Relief at the Superior Court of the state of Washington. In addition to suing for "expenses, costs, and other disbursements associated with filing and maintenance of this action," the 15-page petition calls for the city of Seattle to cease its funding of the Zoo Society because of the Woodland Park's Zoo's "failure to care for all Zoo animals in accordance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations."
Ken Moore has reported that The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn., has agreed to pay for the transport and life-care of these three WPZ elephants. There, on 2,700 acres of beautiful forested land, elephants are allowed to graze and lead the best possible life. Since 1995, The Sanctuary, whose mission is to rescue old, sick or needy elephants, has taken on 25 elephants, with an eventual goal of 100.
The Sanctuary notes on its Web site that in "the wild, elephants are migratory, walking 30 to 50 miles each day, and form intricate family structures. They grieve for their dead in a more-than-instinctive way. They show humor and express compassion for one another with intense interactions. The reality of their lives in captivity is that many are in chains up to 18 hours a day. They are enclosed in steel pens � often alone � broken and controlled by fear and intimidation."
In response, the Sanctuary is not a public viewing facility. Its "residents are not required to perform or entertain for the public; instead, they are encouraged to live like elephants."
Hopefully, two of the responses to Ken Moore's production and the greater awareness of the Seattle area's citizens will be increased funding to The Sanctuary and an increased sensitivity to how responsibly zoos use taxpayer money.
The Sanctuary website: www.elephants.com/aboutSanctuary.php