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L.A. Zoo responds to Bob Barker's $1.5-million offer

January 27, 2009 |  8:30 pm

We told you yesterday that former "The Price Is Right" host Bob Barker has offered to pony up $1.5 million to relocate Billy the elephant from his current home at the L.A. Zoo to a sanctuary. 

"The thousands of Angelenos who agonized over Billy's tragic life at the Los Angeles Zoo will rejoice to learn that now Billy will have the opportunity to roam over countless acres at the PAWS sanctuary, living the life that nature intended for him," Barker wrote in a letter to  City Councilman Tony Cardenas.

The Greater L.A. Zoo Association responded to Barker's offer with this statement:

Billy's home is at the Los Angeles Zoo, not a distant location that is both inaccessible and unaffordable for the working families and schoolchildren of Los Angeles.  The new Pachyderm Forest will provide Billy and other Asian elephants not only with more space than Asian elephants now enjoy at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, but also with a level of personal care and state-of-the-art veterinary services they simply won't get anywhere else. Jack Hanna, one of the world's best known animal care experts, calls the habitat "A model for humane elephant care that will educate generations to come on the threats Asian elephants face in the wild."

So what do Angelenos think of the controversy surrounding Billy's housing?  The Zoo association says an independent study conducted by the firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates shows that a sizable majority supports the construction of its planned Pachyderm Forest exhibit, in which Billy will live if the City Council approves its completion.

Jack Hanna announces his support for the L.A. Zoo's controversial elephant exhibit
Conservationist Daphne Sheldrick: Billy the elephant belongs in a sanctuary
Zookeepers to City Council: Let Billy the elephant stay at the zoo

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

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