The Scars of Captivity: PTSD in Elephants

Just like us, animals suffer in captivity and, now more than ever, it’s time elephants at the Oregon Zoo and beyond be allowed true autonomy, self-determination and freedom. Like many imprisoned animals, the elephants at the Oregon Zoo display stereotypical behavior and PTSD symptoms. It is time for their lifetime of trauma to end and for them to be released to sanctuary.

The presentation organized by Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants and Veggies Do It Better.

Gay Bradshaw holds doctorate degrees in ecology and psychology, and a master’s in geophysics. Dr. Bradshaw’s diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in free-living Elephants launched the field of trans-species psychology.
She is published in academic and popular media and has written several books on the subject including Minding the Animal Psyche (Spring 2010), The Elephant Letters: The Story of Billy and Kani (2014), Pulitzer-prize nominated Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us About Humanity (Yale University Press, 2009), Carnivore Minds: Who these Fearsome Animals Really Are (Yale University Press 2017), and more.
Jenny Wiegand holds a BA in Criminal Justice, a Psychology minor and Masters Credits in Substance Abuse Counseling. She has over 30 years of experience of working within the field of trauma and healing and enjoys using the Sanctuary Model of Trauma Informed Care to help better understand the effects of trauma in order to support an individual’s unique path to healing. This work has led her to helping elephants in captivity. Her mission is to use trauma informed care to help elephants heal.
Chelsea V Davis is a dedicated animal activist, community organizer, social media content creator and entrepreneur. She has been a key leader in events of all shapes and sizes including National Animal Rights Day Portland, Official Animal Rights March Portland, FARM’s Animal Rights National Conference, Portland VegFest, the Northwest Health and Nutrition Conference, national outreach campaigns and events, protests, and fundraisers. She believes in connecting, collaboration, and impacting through everyday life and kindness.
Dani West is an entrepreneur and vegan activist. She has been working closely with FOZE as their social media manager and event organizer since 2018.

Help us #RetireChendra from the Oregon Zoo.
Email/Phone Script for Metro
SAMPLE EMAIL (feel free to use or create your own):
Dear ____________________:
I’m writing you to request the immediate release of Chendra, the long suffering Oregon Zoo elephant, to the awaiting elephant refuge in Georgia.
During her 26 years at the Oregon Zoo, Chendra has endured pain, discomfort and isolation including, most recently, tuberculosi and miscarriage.
Please don’t miss this incredible opportunity to allow Chendra to live the remainder of her life in relative comfort and freedom.
Thank you.
PHONE CALL SCRIPT feel free to use or create your own):
Hello – my name is ____________.
I’m calling to ask you to release Chendra, the long-suffering Oregon Zoo elephant, to the elephant refuge in Georgia which has agreed to take her.
I believe that Chendra has endured enough pain, discomfort and isolation, especially in light of her tuberculosis diagnosis and recent miscarriage.
Please take advantage of this incredible opportunity by allowing her to live the remainder of her life in peace and comfort at the elephant refuge.
Thank you.

This event is officially sponsored by Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants and Veggies Do It Better.
FOZE’s mission is to bring to light the suffering captive elephants endure and to create a groundswell of public pressure to end the Oregon Zoo’s breeding, acquisition and importation of elephants. Our end goal is the gradual phase-out of the elephant exhibit and the relocation of the elephants to sanctuary. To learn more, please go to their website at:

Source: Youtube