Contact: Jason Jacobs, (323) 644-4273
July 24, 2012
We are pleased that the court did not agree with the plaintiff’s request to close the elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo. This case, which began before the new habitat was initiated, focused largely on out-dated information and animal care practices and does not reflect the animal care decisions that have been made in recent years to improve the elephant habitat at the Los Angles Zoo. The requirements made by the court’s decision supports current practices. The L.A. Zoo does not use bull hooks and has no plans to utilize them in the daily management of our elephants. This was stated repeatedly during the trial. Cattle prods and other similar electric instruments have not been used at the L.A. Zoo in decades. The Zoo does not possess bull hooks or cattle prods.
The Los Angeles Zoo’s Elephants of Asia is a world class home for elephants, which was reinforced in March 2012 by the Association of Zoo and Aquarium’s Accreditation Commission. The habitat tells the story of the Asian elephant and the challenges they face in the wild. Features dedicated to the elephants include varied topography, enrichment opportunities and bathing and shower opportunities for the elephants. Educators interpret the messages and interactive graphics empower our visitors to make a direct contribution to benefit wild elephants. Each year over 1.6 million people visit the L.A. Zoo, the majority of whom are not able to travel to Asia or Africa to view wild elephants.
Finally, we respectfully disagree with the court’s opinion regarding the competency and validity of our elephant program. As the people who provide the day to day care for these animals we are competent in what we do and dedicated to the well-being of our elephants.
We look forward to moving past this case and continuing our mission of conservation, education and providing great care to our elephants as well as all of the other animals here at the Los Angeles Zoo.