Retire Bamboo from #1 Worst Zoo

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden has the dubious honor of topping In Defense of Animals' 10 Worst Zoos List this year for its part in creating a devastatingly tragic outcome for elephants Chai and Bamboo. In January of 2016, thirty-seven year old Asian elephant Chai was found dead and alone in the outside exhibit at Oklahoma City Zoo. Her death came only eight months after she and her longtime companion, Bamboo, were forced on a harrowing cross-country journey from Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo to the Oklahoma City Zoo. Not long after their arrival, Chai lost approximately 1000 pounds and had a host of chronic health problems, yet the Oklahoma Zoo had the audacity to say that there were “no red flags” before her death. We can't let Bambo die here too!

Since her long distance transfer and the loss of her friend Chai, Bamboo has been repeatedly attacked by at least one other female Asian elephant, resulting in approximately two inches of her tail being bitten off. The Oklahoma Zoo claims that these attacks are no longer occurring, but this claim must be verified by independent observers or investigated by the USDA.

The Oklahoma Zoo responded to its ranking on In Defense of Animal's List by accusing us of making inaccurate claims. Our elephant scientist, Toni Frohoff, PhD, urged the zoo to, "Stop attacking the messenger," and instead devote its energies to addressing the awful conditions in which it has now left Bamboo, by sending her to an accredited elephant sanctuary. There is simply no reason for Bamboo to remain at the hands of zoo officials who continue to insist all is well, when it clearly is not.

What you can do:

Ask Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, City Councilor John Pettis and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to demand that the Oklahoma Zoo retire Bamboo to a sanctuary immediately.

1) Call Mayor Cornett and Councilman Pettis and let them know that the Oklahoma Zoo's treatment of Chai is unacceptable, and that you demand better for Bamboo. If you are asked whether or not you live in Oklahoma City, and you do not, please respond by saying, "This is relevant to me as this elephants' life became a national issue since the zoo deprived them of a sanctuary."

Mayor Mick Cornett: phone (405) 297-2424
City Councilor John Pettis: phone (405) 297-2569

2) Click to submit our letter below to Oklahoma Mayor Mick Cornett, City Councilor John Pettis and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).


Personalize and submit the letter below to email your comments to:
  • Mayor Mick Cornett
  • John Pettis - City Councilor
  • Dr. Robert Gibbens, DVM - USDA


(Valid street address is required - P.O. Boxes cannot be used*)

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Please Send Elephant Bamboo at Oklahoma City Zoo to a Sanctuary Immediately!

Dear [Decision Maker],

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]


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