Los Angeles Zoo: Release Billy to Sanctuary!

The Los Angeles Zoo confines three Asian elephants in a very small exhibit and operate an invasive captive breeding program. The two females, Tina and Jewel, who are in their fifties and on loan from the San Diego Zoo, live in one portion of the enclosure. On the other side of the exhibit is the lone male elephant, Billy, abducted from his mother and family in Malaysia as an infant, and acquired by the Los Angeles Zoo in 1989. Billy is kept separate from the two females and lives in chronic isolation. Billy deserves a better life, and he needs our help.

In the wild, elephants live in complex communities and occupy hundreds of miles of natural habitat where they have room to roam and be a part of the complex social network of a herd. In contrast, Billy, Jewel, and Tina live on less than three acres, surrounded by metal bars and electric wires, with no access to the trees or foliage that surround the stark enclosure. Living space is further reduced by the segregation of Billy.

Billy's forced isolation directly conflicts with current research on the social bonds of male elephants in the wild. As infants until about the age of 14, males live within their tightly bonded, matriarchal family group. As adults, males live within a social community where lasting bonds with other male elephants are forged, as well as interaction with females on an intermittent basis. Accordingly, Billy has been and continues to be deprived of companionship, healthy movement, mental stimulation, and social learning opportunities.

In addition, Billy has been forced to endure a highly invasive procedure to collect his semen for the purpose of artificially inseminating females at other zoos to breed baby elephants. According to zoo documents, Billy underwent training for the actual semen collection process at least 55 times between January 20, 2011 and November 14, 2014.

Due to the disparity between Billy's wild homeland of Malaysia, and the artificial prison where he is currently forced to reside, the violent rupture of his attachment to his mother, and the destruction of his complex social network, Billy shows the classic signs of profound and chronic trauma.

To keep up with the latest on Billy, follow the Elephant Guardians of Los Angeles Facebook page.


What you can do:



Help Billy, and help end captive breeding, by contacting the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti.

1) Call Mayor Garcetti's office at: 213-978-0600, and kindly ask him to both end the captive breeding program at the LA Zoo, and to help Billy get to a sanctuary.

2) Submit our letter below.

Personalize and submit the letter below to email your comments to:
  • Mayor Garcetti


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End Captive Elephant Breeding in Los Angeles and Release Billy the Elephant to Sanctuary

Dear [Decision Maker],

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]


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