After more than two years of lobbying to rescue Billy the elephant from the LA Zoo, Bob Barker and a host of other celebrities and organizations have lost the fight. The City Council voted Wednesday to finish a $42 million elephant exhibit and keep its lone pachyderm at the zoo. Earlier in the week, the former Price Is Right host had pledged $1.5 million of his own money to move Billy from the zoo to an animal sanctuary in Northern California. Even actress Betty White got in on the debate — siding with zoo officials to leave Billy put. From the article,
Barker, a longtime animal rights activist, said he was “terribly disappointed” and hoped Billy fared better than other elephants at the zoo. Officials have said about a dozen have died there since 1968, but the zoo and its supporters contend many of those succumbed to old age and that it has vastly improved its elephant program.The new, six-acre “Pachyderm Forest” will be seven times larger than the current enclosure and will feature nearly four acres of open space with pools, mud holes and a waterfall. It’s one of the largest planned elephant enclosures in the country. Barker, Halle Barry and Goldie Hawn have all complained the new exhibit would still be too confining and depressing for the behemoths that walk dozens of miles a day in the wild.
Said Cher, who attended the rally to support moving Billy, “They say it’s always been done this way, there’s always been elephants in zoos,” Cher said. “But it doesn’t make it right because we’ve had other things we’re ashamed of, like slavery.”
What a disappointing outcome. I’m happy Bill’s enclosure is being expanded — but six acres is nothing to an elephant. An animal sanctuary would be such a better option for viewing these incredible creatures. Our sincere thank to all those that fought on behalf of Billy.