On January 6, 2012 Attorney David Casselman who represents the plaintiffs filing suit against the L.A. Zoo announced that the trial date to decide the fate of Billy, the lone elephant at the Zoo is scheduled for June 18, 2012. The suit alleges ongoing, illegal, damaging and wasteful action by the L.A. Zoo including not providing adequate living spaces sufficient to maintain the health and well-being of the 11 foot tall, 13,000 pound Billy. This is important because the physical characteristics of an elephant's enclosure may constitute "abusive behavior" under California State law paving the way for Billy to leave the L.A. Zoo and move to a sanctuary.
Billy actually came to the L.A. Zoo the first week of January 23 years ago. Billy, now in his 26th year is the lone elephant housed at the Zoo. A $42 million dollar, tax-payer funded improvement increased the L.A. Zoo elephant exhibit from one-half acres to a total of 6 square acres - only 3.8 of which are outside areas that Billy is not always allowed access to because it is split up by fencing. Elephants have been known to travel over 100 miles in a day so this increase is horribly and tragically inadequate. It is well documented that captive elephants suffer from foot and joint diseases that kill them prematurely. Since 1975 eleven elephants have died at the L.A. Zoo not including six elephants with unknown histories and incomplete records. The two most recent elephant deaths at the L.A. Zoo were Gita, who was 48 years old when she died in 2006 and Tara who was 41 years old when she died in 2004. The average age of death for an L.A. Zoo elephant is 22 years. By comparison, a wild elephant's natural lifespan can be over 70 years!
Billy, alone in his concrete enclosure
Ruby at PAWSBilly has been alone since 2007 when Ruby was granted sanctuary and relocated to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in San Andreas, California. Elephants, like human beings need the companionship and comfort of friends. ELEPHANTS SHOULD NOT BE IN CAPTIVITY!
What You Can Do:
1). Visit LCA's Elephant Sanctuaries - Not Captivity Web page.
This section of the LCA Web site includes information on Wild v. Captive elephants, Sanctuaries, the L.A. Zoo, Myths v. Facts, In Memoriam, and Experts Quotes that will make you a well informed and educated advocate for Billy and other elephants held in captivity.
2). Keep Elephants in the News and Educate Your Friends!
Educating the public about the plight of captive elephants is very important! Write letters to the editor of every magazine or newspaper you read. Talk to your friends and family about the plight of captive elephants.
3). Boycott the L.A. Zoo!
If you live in the Los Angeles area or are planning to visit here, do not patronize the L.A. Zoo. If you live outside of Los Angeles do not patronize establishments that hold elephants in captivity.