Billy The Elephant Incites Tug-Of-War Between LA Zoo, City Hall

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Another fight is brewing over the Los Angeles Zoo’s resident male Asian elephant, Billy.

With Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz announcing legislation to move Billy out of the zoo and into “a more suitable habitat,” zoo officials invited the media Tuesday to get a closer look at Billy and the zoo’s much-touted “state-of-the-art” facility.

“Much has been said about the Zoo’s elephant program, including persistent misinformation and inaccuracies as it specifically relates to our male Asian elephant, Billy,” zoo officials said in a statement. “It is important that accurate and factual information about our program be shared so that the public understands why the L.A. Zoo is an excellent home for these elephants.”

Koretz will be flanked by activists from several animal-welfare advocacy groups at a Tuesday news conference to introduce a plan to change the way elephants are treated at the L.A. Zoo.

The councilman says the 6.56-acre elephant habitat – which includes deep bathing pools, a waterfall and sandy hills – is too small for the 32-year-old Asian male to share with two females, Tina and Jewel.

“That’s why I will be introducing a measure, on Wednesday, to ‘free’ Billy and change the way elephants are treated at the L.A. Zoo,” Koretz said in a statement. “We cannot and must not treat animals in this manner.”

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