It makes me mad!
Instead of listening to the wisdom of some of the world’s greatest elephant experts, with hundreds of years of combined experience and expertise, 11 of the 15 Los Angeles City Council members decided that they would, instead, cling to the vague promises of the LA Zoo authorities that their controversial and meager Pachyderm Forest (about 4 acres, now to be completed at a cost of a staggering $42 million) would provide a ‘world-class solution’ for Billy, the zoo’s solitary male Asian elephant and others the zoo now hopes to acquire.
Only time will prove whether the Council’s decision and the claims of the Zoo Authorities are correct. However, if they think that the spotlight will now turn elsewhere, they are wrong. If anything, scrutiny will now intensify, and it is entirely justifiable for those who have campaigned with logic, science, experience and compassion to have the elephant enclosure closed down – and Billy sent to the PAWS Elephant Sanctuary in San Andreas – to hold the Zoo personally responsible for Billy’s physical and mental well-being, what happens to future elephants that may be brought in, and what they have decided to do with such a huge, some say obscene, amount of money.
Poor Billy! Instead of the 20 acres he could have enjoyed at PAWS, as well as the ability to associate with other elephants, it looks like his future will remain a ‘gilded cage’ in Los Angeles.
By the way, the Kenya Wildlife Service – with 6,000,000 acres to look after, hundreds if not thousands of species and 33,000 wild elephants – had an annual budget of about $20 million in 2007. Compare, contrast – and weep.