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Judge Rules: Woodland Park Zoo can decide elephant’s fate

IMAGE: Animal advocates from the Elephant Justice Project listen to Judge Palmer Robinson's decision that management and ownership of the Woodland Park Zoo elephants, and the right to send them to the Oklahoma City Zoo, belongs to the Woodland Park Zoo Society, in King County Superior Court on April 3, 2015 (photo by Karen Ducey Photography)
April 3, 2015
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Seattle, WA – Animal advocates left a courtroom disappointed today after a King County Superior Court judge ruled the Woodland Park Zoo has the legal authority to transfer the zoo’s two remaining elephants to the Oklahoma City Zoo.

The Elephant Justice Project and Room2Roam, challenged the zoo’s claim of ownership over the elephants and their decision to transfer them to the Oklahoma City Zoo.  They argued the City of Seattle is the owner and were hoping for an injunction to block the move.

Judge Palmer Robinson ruled in favor of the zoo.

Advocates, disappointed the elephants are not being sent to a sanctuary, say they won’t give up. “We try so hard,” said Alyne Fortgang, co-founder of the Elephant Justice Project. “One of the options will come through.”

The group plans to appeal the ruling and has a federal case pending.

The Woodland Park Zoo said they would not move the two aging female elephants until after April 8th.

IMAGE: Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO, Deborah B. Jensen speaks to the press after the court ruled in their favor. The dispute is between the Woodland Park Zoo Society and animal advocacy groups, the Elephant Justice Project and Room2Roam, challenging the zoo's claim of ownership over the elephants and their decision to transfer them to the Oklahoma City Zoo. Judge Palmer Robinson ruled in favor of the zoo.

Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO, Deborah B. Jensen speaks to the press as elephant advocates including Alyne Fortgang (left) the lead plaintiff for the Elephant Justice Project, after the court ruled in their favor. The dispute between the Woodland Park Zoo Society and animal advocacy groups, the Elephant Justice Project and Room2Roam, challenging the zoo’s claim of ownership over the elephants and their decision to transfer them to the Oklahoma City Zoo. Judge Palmer Robinson ruled in favor of the zoo.

IMAGE: Judge Palmer Robinson ruled in favor of the Woodland Park Zoological Society in a King County Superiror Court on April 3, 2015. The dispute is between the Woodland Park Zoo Society and animal advocacy groups the Elephant Justice Project and Room2Roam challenging the zoo's claim of ownership over the elephants and their decision to transfer them to the Oklahoma City Zoo.

Judge Palmer Robinson ruled in favor of the Woodland Park Zoological Society in a King County Superior Court on April 3, 2015.

IMAGE: City of Seattle attorney, Greg Narver says the city is staying out of the dispute between the Woodland Park Zoo Society and animal advocacy groups the Elephant Justice Project and Room2Roam challenging the zoo's claim of ownership over the elephants and their decision to transfer them to the Oklahoma City Zoo. Judge Palmer Robinson ruled in gavor of the zoo.

City of Seattle attorney, Greg Narver says the city is staying out of the dispute between the Woodland Park Zoo Society and animal advocacy groups the Elephant Justice Project and Room2Roam challenging the zoo’s claim of ownership over the elephants and their decision to transfer them to the Oklahoma City Zoo. Judge Palmer Robinson ruled in favor of the zoo.

IMAGE: Chai outside a transport crate at the Woodland Park Zoo on March 7, 2015. (photo © Karen Ducey Photography)

Chai outside a transport crate at the Woodland Park Zoo on March 7, 2015. (photo © Karen Ducey Photography)

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