City Councilman Paul Koretz said today will introduce a motion calling for Billy the elephant to be moved from the Los Angeles Zoo to a sanctuary.
Billy has been at the zoo since 1989 and lives in the Elephants of Asia exhibit with two females, Tina and Jewel.
Because males and females living in captivity must be kept separate, none of the zoo’s elephants can use the exhibit’s entire space and Billy does not get the daily exercise he needs to be both physically and psychologically healthy, Koretz’s office said.
“For many years, Billy has lived in an area completely unnatural for an elephant of his size and of his stature,” said Koretz, chairman of the City Council’s Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee.
“It’s sad and wrong to see any animal, living in captivity, in social isolation, restricted in movement, and physical activity. In fact, he has long been displaying stereotypic behavior, such as repetitive head bobbing, which goes on for extended periods of time.
“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. We cannot and must not treat animals in this manner.”
A spokeswoman with the zoo did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
Koretz also plans to hold a news conference outside the zoo Tuesday morning with some animal rights groups, including Voices for the Animals Foundation and the Humane Society, to discuss his proposal to have Billy moved.