calf-right calf-left

Elephants Sunda and Tembo At Topeka Zoo Need Your Help Now!

Action Alerts

Moo-ving people toward compassionate living

Your letters and calls do help!

"Be the change you wish to see in the world" ~Mohandas Gandhi
"Our lives began and end the day we become silent things that matter" ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Originally Posted: September 24, 2012

Elephants Sunda and Tembo At Topeka Zoo Need Your Help Now!

FROM In Defense of Animals (IDA)


Tell the City of Topeka to release the USDA inspection report on the elephants and to send Tembo and Sunda to a sanctuary.

Sign an online petition (copy/paste URL into your browser):

And/or better yet, make direct contact:

Topeka Zoo Director Brendan Wiley
635 SW Gage Boulevard
Topeka, KS 66606
[email protected]

Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten, Topeka City Manager Jim Colson, Topeka City Council
c/o Ginny Burghart, Assistant to the City Council
215 SE 7th, Room 255
Topeka, KS 66603-3914
phone (785) 368-3710
fax (785) 368-3958
[email protected]


In July, IDA Elephant Campaign Director Catherine Doyle visited the Topeka Zoo and was shocked to discover that Asian elephant Sunda had gaping black holes in nails on two feet and that she was frequently shifting her weight from one foot to another, an indication of pain. IDA immediately filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which inspected the facility on August 28 and issued a citation for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Though the Topeka Zoo pledged greater transparency following the deaths of several animals under the previous zoo director – including a hippo who died in overheated water and two animals infested with maggots – it is withholding the USDA’s August 28 inspection report from the public as it appeals the citation, even though this is a matter of public record. The zoo already faces formal charges by the USDA that involve 51 "willful violations" of the Animal Welfare Act over a four-year period. This includes providing "minimally appropriate husbandry" for the elephants and failure to inspect their feet as frequently as necessary.

Asian elephant Sunda and African Tembo spend the majority of their lives standing in a tiny concrete barn. Winters are especially hard on them, as freezing weather forces them indoors for virtually the entire season. Sunda suffers from chronic foot infections caused by lack of movement and standing on hard surfaces. Foot disease is a leading killer of elephants in zoos.

Animal Outreach of Kansas has been fighting for five years to send Tembo and Sunda to a sanctuary, where they would live in a large, natural habitat in a far more moderate climate and could choose companions of their own species. Separating Tembo and Sunda is not an issue because they don’t get along, according to zoo records and as seen in a recent TV news report.

Thank you for everything you do for animals!