Yesterday, we told you about art-painting elephants in Indonesia and Thailand selling their work to help benefit protection and habitat for those still in the wild. Today, word comes that Alicia Silverston, Bob Barker, Robert Culp and Esai Morales have all joined LA Councilman Tony Cardenas in an effort to move elephants from the Los Angeles Zoo to a massive sanctuary where they can roam free.

The initiative comes as the zoo is about 1/3 complete on the construction of a new 3 1/2 acre $39 million elephant exhibit. About 11 of the pachyderms would be kept in the enclosure. Cardenas says, however, that that isn’t good enough — and a 60-acre sanctuary in the northern San Fernando Valley would be a better use of the remaining funds.

“A sanctuary would cost $10 million,” he said. “The unfinished elephant habitat at the zoo could be turned over to giraffes, saving the city $20 million.”

Sounds good to me — but something tells me the zoo isn’t interested in relocating a money-generating attraction out to San Fernando Valley. I guess we’ll find out more on November 6th when the proposal is considered.

via Mercury News

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • e

    Which brings up the issue; how are these elephants being treated in Thailand and Indonesia? My birth mother worked for wwf (not not the wrestling people ;) for years and on her visits there i think it’s safe to say she saw weren’t treated very well over there (the elephants that is :(


  • michael

    It’s a good question! I did a little checking and the Asian Elephant Art & Conservation program apparently takes in elephants that have been abused in other countries and gives them a better life. How this fits into painting (do they have to want to paint in the first place to get in?), I have no idea, but they emphasize how their pachyderms are not subjected to stress or abuse to entertain or participate.

    Still, without first hand observation, I can only take their word for it.

  • e

    Good to know… Thanks for the info ;-)


  • Key

    Last time I saw an animal painting special, the animals are given a choice. First they’re shown the paints and the canvas, then they’re given a helping hand (ie: put paw here, brush swung here etc.) after that their handler steps back and lets them do what comes naturally.

    Cats, elephants and monkey’s seem to enjoy themselves applying paint to paper or canvas and, at least on the program I saw, create far less mess than you’d expect from letting an animal let lose with a ton of painting supplies.

    As for the zoo, times are hard – the chance to save money should definitely appeal to them and I’m not sure how sanctuary’s work but if the land is zoo owned they can still turn a prophet with a safari type tour.