Billy, the elephant at the LA Zoo, needs your help!
Dear Mayor Bass,
Do you know that Billy, the elephant at the LA Zoo, lives in constant pain and agony? His feet are infected with open, visible cracks in his nails. He constantly rocks back and forth. It is called stereotypic behavior and is similar to catatonia in humans. Elephants in the wild and in sanctuaries do not exhibit this behavior.
Sixteen elephants have died at the LA Zoo, many with foot and joint problems due to the cement-like substrate they are forced to live on. It is an excruciatingly painful death. Gita, Jewel, and Tara are just a few of the recent elephants who have died.
Dr. Ensley, a world-renowned expert on elephants in captivity, has produced two in-depth reports on the elephants at the LA Zoo. We would be glad to provide these to you so you can see the severity of the problems.
The public has made it clear that they do not want to see elephants in zoos. In response to this sentiment, many AZA-accredited zoos are transferring their elephants to sanctuaries and closing their exhibits:
- Detroit Zoo transferred Winky and Wanda
- San Francisco Zoo transferred Tinkerbelle
- San Francisco Zoo transferred Lulu
- Los Angeles Zoo transferred Ruby
- Toronto Zoo transferred Thika, Toka, and Iringa
- El Paso Zoo transferred Sissy
- Nashville Zoo transferred Sukari
- North Carolina Zoo transferred Artie
- San Antonio Zoo transferred Nicole
- Knoxville Zoo transferred Jana and is in the process of
- transferring Tonka and Edie
- Oakland Zoo is in the process of transferring Donna
In addition, seeing elephants in a zoo is not educational. This is not how students learn.
“To the great misfortune of all zoo attendees, especially children, the lessons taught with captive elephants are that it is okay to dominate those majestic animals; that it is okay to isolate highly social animals from their family herds; that it is okay to prioritize their suffering for our amusement. In addition to animal cruelty, this practice amounts to educational malpractice.”
Former: Science Teacher
Middle School Director
Upper School Director
Assistant Head of School
CAIS Accreditation Team Member
Board Member, The Oaks School
Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world. It is the birthplace of some of the most imaginative and innovative ideas that others often emulate. Inventors could create immersive, interactive virtual exhibits that would be more educational than just looking at live elephants in captivity. It would also attract more visitors. Los Angeles is a compassionate and visionary city. It is time to show our compassion and vision to the world by example. Support efforts to move elephants from zoos to living sanctuaries.