Pachyderm Politics: The Battle Over Billy the Elephant
Since he arrived at the LA Zoo 20 years ago this month, Billy the elephant has attracted his share of crowds, but probably none were bigger than the group of activists and zoo supporters who gathered at City Hall this week to weigh in before the city council's final vote on an issue that will determine his entire future.
Should Billy stay in LA and await the $42 million Pachyderm Forest being built to house him and potential mates? The new, six-acre "Pachyderm Forest" will be six times larger than his 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.
Activists complain that the new exhibit would still be too confining and depressing with inadequate space for Billy to roam, let alone a desired herd of eleven, and that Billy should be sent to a sanctuary.
It's a "wild" story of politics, pachyderms and - above all else - the city's purse strings.