Media Release: Packy The Elephant Murdered by Oregon Zoo - World Zoothanasia Day Declared

Media Release: Packy The Elephant Murdered by Oregon Zoo - World Zoothanasia Day Declared


In Defense of Animals Declares World Zoothanasia Day

CONTACT: Toni Frohoff, Ph.D.,, 805-836-0496



Portland, OR (February 9, 2017) – In Defense of Animals has reacted with horror at news that the life of outwardly healthy elephant, Packy, has been cut short by Oregon Zoo. Earlier this week, In Defense of Animals and Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants exposed a leak of closed-door, lethal discussions about the elephant between the Oregon Zoo management and Metro Council. In Defense of Animals and Dr. Marc Bekoff have declared today World Zoothanasia Day in honor of Packy, and countless other unwanted animals who are regularly killed by zoos.

54-year old Asian elephant Packy was the oldest known Asian male elephant in North America. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2013 but reportedly showed no signs of suffering from the disease. According to his keeper, “Packy has never shown any signs or symptoms of the TB infection. He is showing no signs of pain or discomfort. He is active, playful and engaged with keeper staff every day.” The Zoo’s own Facebook page repeatedly corroborates the absence of signs of illness in Packy, and in December a Zoo official told the Portland Tribune, “Day to day he doesn’t appear to be suffering…”

The anonymous zoo keeper who raised the alarm under the banner “Team Packy” on a dedicated Facebook page advised that, “this decision is not based on science, safety or Packy’s best interest. It is a risk based decision made by politicians, attorneys and other officials who fear the future repercussions of keeping him alive.”

“We are devastated by the horrific news that Oregon Zoo has murdered Packy,” said In Defense of Animals President, Dr. Marilyn Kroplick. “Oregon Zoo brought Packy into the world and profited from him for decades. He was not suffering, and risk management plans were working, yet they killed him anyway. This is a truly sickening betrayal of a highly self-aware and conscious individual. We demand that the five remaining elephants at Oregon Zoo are freed and retired to a sanctuary where they can receive genuine care and respect.”

“I am sickened by the despicable actions of Oregon Zoo, which has not ‘euthanised’ but ‘zoothanised’ Packy,” said Toni Frohoff, Ph.D., Elephant Scientist for In Defense of Animals. “The Zoo admitted that Packy was not suffering, so ‘euthanasia’ is a flat-out lie. Packy wanted to live and the people who raised him and whom he trusted murdered him. In Defense of Animals is demanding that the Oregon Zoo show some accountability and immediately produce Packy’s clinical veterinary records as well. In the meantime, the Zoo has no right to attempt to whitewash this murder as ‘euthanasia.’”

Zoothanasia refers to the controversial practice of killing animals who are considered surplus to zoo breeding programs because of age or genetics. The term was coined by Marc Bekoff of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

In Defense of Animals is marking February 9, 2017 as World Zoothanasia Day in honor of Packy the elephant, Marius the giraffe, the lions of Copenhagen Zoo, and countless other animals who have been killed at the hands of zoos.

Dr Frohoff stated, “Members of the public are horrified when they learn of the unjustifiable zoo murders of animals when they are deemed ‘surplus’ or no longer wanted. We are declaring this the first World Zoothanasia Day, in honor of Packy and the countless other victims who are killed by zoos.”

Oregon Zoo earned fifth place on In Defense of Animals’ 2016 list of the Worst Zoos for Elephants in North America. The captive animal park has been shamed on the list a total of seven times.

Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants is encouraging locals to join a protest for Packy


### ENDS ###

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 30-year history of fighting for animals, people and the environment through education, campaigns and hands-on rescue facilities in India, Africa, and rural Mississippi.

IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS • 3010 KERNER BLVD. • SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901 • 415-448-0048