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Jack Hanna announces his support for the L.A. Zoo's controversial elephant exhibit

Billy, the L.A. Zoo's only elephant

Celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna weighed in today on the hot topic of Billy, the sole elephant resident at the L.A. Zoo.  In a letter to the L.A. City Council, Hanna pledged his support to the controversial "Pachyderm Forest" project, which will cost $42 million if completed as originally planned.

There's been a great deal of debate over Billy's living arrangements.  As our colleague Carla Hall reported last month, construction on the Pachyderm Forest has been halted over concerns not just over cost but also Billy's well-being:

"Our zoo is trying to do the best job they can with the real estate they have and the budget they have," said Councilman Tony Cardenas, who conceived the motion to stop construction of the exhibit and move Billy to a sanctuary. "Elephants don't fit in zoos; they have ailments they don't get out in the wild. Whether it's an acre or three to four acres, it's inadequate."

Hanna writes about a tour he took of the Pachyderm Forest construction site last month:

"What I [found] was a project taking shape that will set a new standard for the care of elephants at zoos, providing a home that will be even larger than what Asian elephants enjoy at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.  Not only will Billy and any future residents have a huge amount of space in which to roam, they will continue to enjoy 24-hour monitoring, state-of-the-art medical care, love, nurturing and a level of attention that ranch-like sanctuaries cannot provide.

"My conclusion: the Pachyderm Forest will be a model for humane elephant care that will educate generations to come on the threats Asian elephants face in the wild."

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

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The city can't afford this expensive exhibit that at 3.6 acres is still not nearly enough room for one elephant, let alone more that they hope to imprison. Period.

Because of all the health problems these massive animals always suffer from in captivity, we CANNOT afford the vet bills, medicine, and maintenance. Do you know the dosage for an elephant? You are talking about BIG money EVERY day JUST on medications that these animals must be on for the rest of their imprisoned life because of the afflictions caused by their unnatural captivity.

No big surprise that a champion of zoos like Jack Hanna would support keeping elephants at the L.A. Zoo. He is most certainly not a champion of animals. I can't even watch his segments on talk shows. If you want to show people these animals, then film them where they are comfortable, don't schlep them around for who knows how long to a studio, causing them excessive stress. It is disgusting.

regarding the above poll, in the last few hours the "Yes" vote has gone up by almost 1,500 votes yet most of the comments here are to send Billy to a Sanctuary. I find this strange. Well not really guess the zoo has all the zoos in NA voting yes. Sad you can't have a poll that is fair.

Lame. That's the only word to describe Mr Hanna's support for keeping Billy at the LA Zoo.

It was very sad to learn recently that Mr Hanna's interest in wildife was inspired by Born Free (1966), the film that my parents Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna starred in. My late father would be turning over in his grave to think that a film which was all about liberty, justice and 'letting go' had so encouraged Mr Hanna that he then seems to have spent most of his life supporting captivity.

I have observed wild elepants in their natural habitat for 25 years. I have helped rescue orphaned elephants, move elephants from places of danger to safety, fought the ivory trade and even had the privilege of successfully returning an elephant to the wild after 20 years in a zoo.

Mr Hanna says Billy will have room to roam but, bizarrly, he doesn't compare the LA Zoo's proposed Pachyderm exhibit with elephants in the wild (thousands of acres) or even with enclosures in the two Gold Standard Elephant Sanctuaries in the USA (60 acres at PAWS in California and 300 acres at the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary), he compares the LA Zoo proposition with the San Diego Wild Animal Park's postage stamp elephant exhibit - circa 3 acres. Lame, Mr Hanna and shameful.

It's simply not good enough. Second best will not do. Compassionate US citizens can better than that.

And, by the way, if the LA City Council does do the right thing and decides to build an Elephant Sanctuary instead of a 'bigger zoo box', then, if they want to really help elephants they can spend the $30 million they'll save on protecting thousands of elephants in the wild.

C'mon Jack. Let's do what's best for Billy, best for the city of Los Angeles, and best for elephants. That's REAL conservation.

Find out more at www.bornfreeusa.org or www.bornfree.org.uk

Zoos are sanctuaries..what you are really demanding is that Billy be sent to a facility that does no education, no conservation, does not give back to the community in any way and that has not qualified for any accreditation and has no oversight. You expect people to willingly place Billy in a black hole with a big lawn. All because you don't like zoos.

Why is it the animal rights people started to get so worke dup on this blog when people started asking why the City Council is spending so much time on their issue --- must have touched a nerve here.

How can people be so ignorant? At an animal sanctuary I visited last year in CA, caretakers there noted that they did not have elephants there because their sanctuary was too small for them. The size of the sanctuary? 40 acres. I find it horrifying that so many people put humans entertainment before such gentle creatures health.

Billyshould feel free to roam in a sanctary. The cost is cheaper, and he will be with other pacyderms. Jack Hanna has no business weighing in on this, unless, he funds 42million for the project!!!

All of you people who want Billy to go to this "sanctuary" - have you actually been to that sanctuary - have you actually measured the acreage he would have. And since they don't have breeding programs at such places, have you asked them where Billy would actually be housed? This delay is hurting not only the elephants but all the animals at the zoo, since all work had to be halted while this got worked out. And honestly, elephants have had relationships with humans for centuries, so being around people isn't cruel or inhumane. What is cruel is putting a half-baked animal rights ideology above the actual welfare of the animals you purport to care about. I'm not "screaming" at those who disagree or want to deny them freedom of speech. They are entitled to their opinion and I am entitled to mine - which I've just stated.

Billy was rescued from a horrible, abusive, situation before finding a safe home at the LA Zoo. Yes, it's true his current living situation is less than ideal, but the entire point of the Pachyderm Forest is to give him room to roam around a more natural environment. My understanding is that the zoo is hopeful to someday get him a companion so that he will lead a more "normal" life. By halting construction on his new home, you are actually forcing him to remain alone and in this small enclosure even longer. It would really help if people would take the time to educate themselves about this particular situation before throwing opinions out there.

The largest land mammal has no business being in a zoo or a circus. They need to stay in Africa and Asia and we should NEVER get another elephant for zoos.

I support the completion of the Pachyderm Forest.


Billy will be able to be what he was born to be -- AN ELEPHANT -- when he is able to become a father. Which he CANNOT do at a sanctuary, where he will be kept separate from other elephants to prevent it (unless, of course, he is castrated).

Just to set the record straight -- Billy and Ruby were NEVER "partners". In fact, Ruby once bit off part of Billy's ear. I know because one of the elephant keepers told me the story in passing once.

I think we need to stop assuming we know more about what Billy needs than his own keepers and animal care folks.

If Billy goes to a sanctuary he will either be isolated from the other elephants because he is an intact bull elephant or he will be castrated. If he stays at the zoo he becomes a part of a breeding program with the possibility of the company of a couple female elephants. Which do you think Billy would choose?

Some of you have bricks for ears (or eyes). Billy will be in solitary confinement if sent to a sanctuary. At the LA Zoo he will have female companions. yeesh.

Please let Billy enjoy his life at the sanctuary

i'm an avid zoo supporter.... however after reading up on it, i feel that elephants deserve more than zoos have to offer. just look at the youtube video of billy to see the stress he is under. that's just not right. let's also remember who pays jack hanna's bills... the zoos do.

if anyone is NOT sure and needs a physical way to see that billy is suffering- just look at his feet. and ask about the feet of the elephant who recently (in the past 5 years, can't remember when exactly) died at the la zoo. it was unbelieveable.
and if you do the research to see why the foot thing happens (they need to walk for miles each day)- it becomes clear that a new situation is necessary. for the sake of the animal.

Do the obviously right thing. SEND BILLY TO SANCTUARY.

Wow, so much hysterical ranting from busy-body animal activists. If Billy has been with the LA Zoo for most of his life, why would anyone want to separate him from those he is familiar with? If you activists are to truly anthropomorph Billy with human feelings, why do you not consider that he may have emotional attachments to his current caretakers and would likely mourn losing them?

If Billy is incapable of fending for himself in the wild, then what better way to educate the public on the well-being of elephants and their plight in Africa and India then to show the consequence of orphaned animals via zoos? Keep Billy in LA, I say!

For you animal activists that think it is inhumane to provide an elephant with a larger place to live without putting him through the stress of removing him from a place where he has lived for 20 years, why don't you go do something about the circuses that house elephants in small cages and use them purely for their own profit? Seriously, at least the zoo is interested in providing a breeding program for the elephants in order to save them. If you don't believe that, how do you explain the condors?
Also, how many of you are willing to pay for Billy to be taken care of at a sanctuary? LA residents already agreed to help pay for Billy to be taken care of at the zoo. Let the vote of the majority stand and the ridiculous minority get a life!

I am disgusted by those that continue to speculate on this elephant's "happiness". Chances are you know little about his happiness because the vast majority of people who are involved in animal rights issues do not attend zoos. Yes, having an opinion is a great thing. But the projecting of sanctuaries over zoos based on a bogus argument about acreage, that has no factual data, is wrong. So let's just call it the Pachyderm Sanctuary instead of Forest and we'll have a pleasing name that everyone can feel good about. Again, how long are these elephants living in these Sanctuaries and how long have they been living there? One just died at 26, others have died in their 30's. You would not find zoos attacking sanctuaries for their losses, but you sure see the wheels in motion from animal rights groups working in tandem with these sanctuaries when a zoo elephant dies. The sanctuaries shouldn't feel offended by this, because they are encouraging this behavior publicly and on their website because it benefits them. Profit. Greed. Jail. Those are tipping words for animal rights people. Have you ever been to a sanctuary website and seen what they are pushing for their funding? T-shirts, mugs, supplies, and they are turning a profit as well. Do you think these sanctuaries haven't profited off the publicity they are generating from zoos? For all the rational people out there reading these boards, whether you voted for or against the LA Zoo exhibit, understand that the zoo did not go out and attack sanctuaries or animal rights groups. It is these groups that have decided to set their crosshairs on this zoo, and to fire people up with speculatory, inflammatory, and in many cases erroneous information. The LA Zoo is open to the public every day of the year. Their records are open to the public. I doubt you will find that from animal rights groups or private elephant facilities that don't open their doors to the public. Jack Hanna has traveled to every continent at least twice and has spent considerable time with elephants and researchers. Jack also turns away the majority of speaking fees and donates them to conservation. He doesn't need a paycheck from a zoo, just like Bob Barker or Lily Tomlin don't need paychecks anymore from their entertainment endeavors. But if I needed advice on wildlife or the captive management of animals, I sure wouldn't be looking for Lily Tomlin first. Researcher Joyce Poole sure pitched hard for cash in California when the folks from IDA threw fundraisers for her, and then they coincidentally used her as an expert witness at the LA Council meetings. They also brought in the head of an elephant sanctuary who has passive-aggressively been lobbying for zoo elephants for years. And FYI, Councilman Cardenas was photographed attending at least one of those private fundraisers. Please don't project the GREED, MONEY, PROFIT words solely on zoos again. All of these groups are rightfully trying to support their organizations the best they can. You can't single out zoos because these sanctuaries are doing the same thing.

I agree - stop the cruelty of sending elephants to underfunded unaccredited "sanctuaries" where they use bull hooks, have no animal experience and use only holistic veterinary treatment.
Keep Billy at the LA Zoo where he is loved and cared for by experts.

The bottom line is this is going to be the best, most healthy elephant zoo enclosure in the whole country. Bottom line. Singling out the LA Zoo and the children of this city to be victims in the debate over the overall concept of a zoo is insane.

Our zoo has made tremendous strides over recent years. It used to be an embarrassment due to its lack of upkeep and lack of modern concern for the animals. It now is real a pleasure to visit.

I can't believe how people from my own animal loving side of the aisle have played into the hands of slimy city politics. Let Billy get his house and some companionship.

Dear Ms Woodviolet,

Regarding your post (yet again).

You say:
“… returning non-mammals to the wild is much easier than returning mammals…”
You might want to reconsider that statement. Look at the Channel Island off the coast of Southern California. Island foxes, Arabian Oryx, lion-headed tamarins (to name a few) were all successfully returned to the wild after an intensive captive breeding program. And all mammals.

“If you seriously believe that any calf of Billy's is going back into the wild from Griffith Park then you are...very likely incorrect.”
Hopefully his future generations will be able to do this. Perhaps we should all be working together to help educate communities on deforestation, encroachment, the effects of palm oils, poaching, land minds…

“It might also be pertinent to consider that since the seventies the L.A. Zoo has seen the premature deaths of thirteen elephants.”
Their deaths were not premature. They all died of natural causes in their 40s. How many people have you knows who’ve died since 1975? Anything with a heart beat dies, even at sanctuaries. How many elephants have died there?

Perhaps some people should do more research into the subject before they vote. Just b/c Jack Hanna is famous doesn't mean he's a true "ambassador" to the animal world. For years he has supported zoos and parks that knowingly trade on the animal black market and sell to controlled/caged hunts. Why would we trust him now?

I vote to keep Billy in his adopted home, the Los Angeles Zoo. There is no guarantee he would be any happier living with strangers.

Dear Ms Pam Holt,

Regarding your post:

“Billy is all alone…”
He wouldn’t be alone if protesters let zoo build the exhibit. He would be with herd of female elephants roaming an area the size of Dodger Stadium. If he were to go to a sanctuary, he would be by himself and/or potentially castrated!

“… and neurotically bobs his head up and down constantly because his needs aren’t being met.”
If you did just a little bit of research, you would know that he bobs his head just prior to his feeding time. Just like if/when you tap your foot or drum your fingers in anticipation of something. If he were sent to a sanctuary, that bobbing would still persist.

“Elephants don't live in zoos- they die in zoos, always way before their time…”
As I pointed out in a previous post, anything with a heart beat eventually dies. EVEN IN SANTURAIRES. How many elephants have died in sanctuaries? A 26-year old just died a few months ago at PAWS. The average life span of both Asian and African elephants both in the wild and captivity, is mid 40’s. Not to be confused by life expectancy (the longest lived individual).

I've noticed that in those comments which argue in favor of the new elephant exhibit much of the focus has turned to preserving the species rather than focusing on billy as an individual being. No matter how grand the project is, it will not allow Billy the room required to even remotely resemble a wild asian elephant's territory. A sanctuary will give Billy significantly more room to roam which, no doubt, will eliminate much of the boredom he experiences now and will experience even in the new exhibit. I believe the intentions of the zoo are good, but I think that Billy's well being, as an individual, should be put first.

Wasn't it a zoo that saved the California Condor from extinction?

Here is a fact to think about: elephants have to have access to large distances to travel or they will develop foot abscesses which lead to ostyeomyelitis, which is fatal. There is no cure once foot problems have gone this far.

Three or four acres is not even close to enough to maintain the health of the animal.

All you people voting to keep Billy where he is are sentencing him to a slow death.

Read what REAL elephant experts have to say on the matter. It's easy - just Google Daphne Sheldrick, Joyce Poole, Carol Buckley or Pat Darby.

He says the elephants will "enjoy 24-hour monitoring, state-of-the-art medical care". How do the elephants know they are being monitored or do they even want to be monitored. Has anyone asked them? Having this 'state of the art' medical care there in case they ever need it is about as comforting to the elephants as my cat knowing the vet is just up the road in case she needs it. The animals don't know or care, they live in the moment. It just makes the keeper feel better about making money from displaying elephants in an unnatural zoo environment.

there should be no such places like zoos anymore and no places like sanctuary in the near future either

I'm just reading through this debate because it was left up on the library computer - I am amazed to see how ugly the anti-zoo people get. I have heard that some of these groups, like PETA, terrorize people and now I have seen this for myself. I bet the emails that aren't being printed would curl hair.

Dear “Respecter of animals”

Regarding your post:
You say:
“Quit thinking about how much of a monetary DRAW the Elephants are for a zoo and start thinking about the Elephants.”
When has anyone talking about the monetary draw? This is a CONSERVATION PROGRAM! One of the elements of conservation is EDUCATION.

“I'm QUITE sure any Ele would prefer a sanctuary where they could hide when they want and come out when they choose “
So how much time have you spent with Billy…or ANY elephant for that matter, to make such a generalization? The animal care specialists at the zoo know Billy better than anyone on this planet. They work and play with him day in and out. They know his behaviors. They know his likes and dislikes better than someone reading a fictional LA Times article. I trust their opinion on this matter more than anyone else. And no, they are not speaking to “save their jobs” because they will have work regardless if Billy is at the zoo or somewhere else; there are other animals at the zoo they can work with as well.

“… learn about Elephants ACTUAL behaviour, turn on National Geographic or tell them to pick up a book…”
I’ve heard many kids gasp in awe when the see an animal in real life. When they say things like, “I’ve seen pictures, but I didn’t realize they were so big” or “I had no idea they smelled like this” or “wow, look how close he is to me!” …this is where sparks if inspiration are born. If they are inspired by the animal, they want to learn about the animal, they want to help the animals in the wild. That’s the goal of any conservation program.

Jack Hanna has been wrong about elephants before: for example, his recommendation that the Alaska Zoo keep Maggie in a cold and dark winter cell, with only a treadmill for company! I suggest that the L. A. Zoo send Billy to a sanctuary now, and then let's see what they can build for a future family of elephants. "When you build it, they will come," but don't bet the life of Billy that they will complete it anytime soon. This is one of those projects that can be put on hold for better economic times. Instead, readers, please donate generously to the PAWS and Tennessee sanctuaries to help sustain their elephant populations until the crisis is past.

The fact that elephants are herd animals should be enough testimony. Billy is living at the L.A. zoo, as a solo elephant, merely for the pleasure of human viewing. Thus, he lives his life in an unnatural ,contained environment solely for human entertainment. I cannot think of any species more selfish than humans. PLEASE allow Billy to be among other elephants, in a sanctuary!!

Having worked at the S.D.Zoo for 15yrs.and visited a # of Sancturarys, this boy would be MUCH better off in this beautiful new enclosure. Number one male elephants do NOT hang around with the big heards of female elephants only led by the matrioch. boys are driven out at a certain age.They come around when it is time to breed, otherwise go it alone or hang with several males.
This enclosure would be like heaven for him!! There is NO Sancuary that has this large of an area per animal.
This would be like heaven for him!! Best food and care,and with people he knows, is attatched to, and trusts. Besides getting the best food and care he could possibly get. Elephants from shows and roadside zoos would be the ones to go to sanctuary. These elephants can not go back to the wild no matter what. Most, if not all, were born in captivity. This is what they know! Oh by the way....wild elephants rock also when they are snozzing.

It amazes me that this is still an issue in any dispute. It's astonishingly obvious that these people are making decisions based on what is best for people. They use animals as a way to make money and benefit themselves, period. It's repugnant in this day and age.

Modern, thinking people do not enjoy seeing animals in depressing, unhealthy and unnatural environments. It's time for zoos to be done. And there is NO REAL 'expert' who would ever say elephants should be kept in them.

Here's hoping the next generation has the courage to change this, instead of just going along with it because it's been done in the past.

BILLY HAS SUFFERED ENOUGH!!! LET HIM GO AND BE HAPPY!! Most people don't know how much space an elephant really needs, so they think what the L.A. Zoo wants to do is a good idea. The Reality is this;

If Hanna & the Zoo Truly wanted to build an environment condusive to Happy elephants, then the exhibit would encompass several hundred acres of land!! Elephants need TONS and TONS OF ACREAGE. In their natual habitat they romes for miles and miles daily! Limiting their space to a few measley acres is equivalent to placing a human into a small confined area, say one or two rooms. The L.A. Zoo Does NOT have the Adequate Means, i.e. acreage to Properly care for Elephants! LET BILLY LIVE A HAPPY LIFE IN AN ELEPHANT SACTUARY WHICH HAS ADEQUATE SPACE FOR THESE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.

If anyone bothered to do any research about Billy before making judgements, you would find out that Billy was an orphaned elephant pressed into service in a lumber camp on a Palm Oil plantation in Malaysia. Elephants working in lumber camps are commonly chained and develop the head bobbing behavior from being chained. He did NOT develop the head bobbing from being at the LA Zoo - he already had developed the behavior before being brought to the U.S. The owner of the plantation was looking for somewhere to place the elephants on the land, so the LA Zoo agreed to help and give him a home, which the zoo has done, and is providing him with enrichment and the highest level of medical care.

The zoo is not a for-profit operation - the money from admission, concessions, etc. goes back to the zoo's programs, including its conservation programs, which have saved many species from exinction, such as the condor. It is idiotic to assert that the zoo or Jack Hanna is only interested in exhibiting elephants as a money maker. Jack Hanna has done much for animal welfare and public education about animals, which is important to saving animals and their habitats. He is right - much of the information floating around about Billy and the zoo by the opposition is horribly incorrect, and instead of just logging onto a website and making a judgement, he went to the zoo to see the conditions and the plan for the new exhibit first-hand.

The construction of this exhibit is critical to research and breeding in order to try to save this endangered species - preventing the zoo's conservation efforts will only ultimately contribute to the death of the species.

People are yelling that Billy is alone, when these same people are in fact keeping him alone and preventing him from enjoying a new, larger home with other elephants with their efforts to halt the exhibit (of course paying no mention to the fact that bull elephants in the wild live alone and not in herds). Sending him to a sanctuary does not grant him "freedom" - he would still be a captive elephant, and he would not have access to the resources and level of care that the zoo provides.

Before any of you take sides either for or against the issue, at least take the time to get fair, scientific, and unbiased information.

Yes, We just visited the zoo and our whole family got to experience the wonderful elephant exhibit. The exhibit was amazing and we enjoyed watching the elephant eat bamboo. The LA Zoo works hard on this exhibit. Having the education of getting to see a live elephant for our children is a wonderful thing that LA offers. People who want to take this away from us would also want to take the whole zoo away and then what is next from them? Do we have to give up our pets from home too?

Does anyone know an animal communicator who could talk to Billy and get his opinion. Seriously, there are many animal communicators around who can talk to animals. I would love to hear Billy's perspective on all of this and how he feel physically and emotionally. I will see if I can find someone.

I support healthy environments for elephants in zoos.

Dear Ms. Margaret Bunce,
Regarding your post.
You say:
“I almost voted for the zoo option until I read an article from a woman who has been working with stricltly elephants her entire life.”
If you’re referring to the LA Times article about Daphne Shelrick, you should have noted the obvious difference. She worked with African elephants, and the situation at hand, is regarding Asian elephants. That, alone, should have been a red flag to other potential inaccuracies in the article.

“Jack does have some credentials, yes, but in the last decade of his fame and fortune, he only has to walk out on stage and be handed animals to show to audiences. I am sure he isn't cleaning enclosures at this time or doing the dirty work.”
It’s called education. He is educating and inspiring the public about these wonderful animals. You watched. You were in awe. But you weren’t listening to his message. He was probably talking about their situation in the wild and what you can do to help preserve their habitats.

”This elephant needs companionship. It's proven. To have moved his partner Ruby to the sanctuary and not him was despicable.”
Yes, females are social. Males, especially when in musth, are generally solitary. He would be by himself and/or potentially castrated if sent to a sanctuary. He would have been with a group of female elephants and strolling 3.8 acres by now if it hadn’t been for protester interference. Nice job guys!
Also, Ruby, and AFRICAN female, was hardly his “partner”. There were several aggressive behaviors expressed from Ruby towards Billy.

“The people who need educating are the ones that are killing them for illegal trade and parts, ie: China, Asia in general, Africa, etc…”
Or aerial hunting in Alaska. Or sport hunting in Montana. Or fur trapping in the Midwest. Or illegal pet trade INTO the United States…

I am glad to see that someone is asking why so much time is being spent on the agenda of special interests like the animal rights groups. Polls show that they represent a very small minority - but they engage in practices that literally attempt to drown out the majority who do not share their views. It is interesting to watch this blog and see these groups demonstrating how they do this. Seems like I remember my grandmother telling me this is what the Nazis started doing to push their racist messages before the Holocaust.

Ms. Kate Woodviolet, I fully support your position, its people like you that will keep animals safe from cruel confinement! FREE BILLY!!!!!!!! Also, Ivoryhunter, you should be ashamed of the comment you have made, you are the BEAST!


I love how somehow a preserve in San Fernando or Tennessee is supposed count as the wild, let alone to approximate the "Natural" habitiat. The natural habitats have virtually disappeared while we accumulated mountains of junk. Elephants like most other large mammals will soon dissappear from the earth becuse we consume and multiply with no regard for the earth. Is there any real reason to keep Elephants alive. Probably not. As we've evolved in our compassion for animals we've completely eliminated their ability to even survive. Let's not pretend for even a second that any of you who say that zoos are a cruel prison really have any idea what would change this trend. In the mean time we do our best. It seems to me like the effort the zoo is making is about the best we can do. Oh yeah. When we put these elephants in a preserve what happens to the animals that naturally live in that space?

I'm desagree with Meghann Mcneil,
Nobody belongs to a jail. The zoo are a jail for the animals, for a simple, basic reason: Is not his natural environment. May be The zoo is dedicated to providing professional care, maybe The LA Zoo is making efforts to enhance Billy’s current enclosure, and he receives various enrichment activities everyday to stimulate him and encourage exercise; BUT never be like the real world. The sactuary are the most closer to the real world.
Who wants live in a gold cage? Nobody.
EVERYBODY, humans and animals deserves live in freedom.

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