Game show host Bob Barker issued a plea to city officials in Los Angeles to close the pachyderm exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo and send the three elephants currently in captivity to a sanctuary.
Barker, an animal rights activist, discussed the elephants, Gita, Ruby and Billy at the Los Angeles City Council meeting. "I came here today to ask, to beg you ... to vote to release those elephants from that zoo," Barker says. "They have lived in misery."
Two of the elephants are currently ill, leaving only one, Billy, on display. One elephant, Tara, died in 2004. Zoo officials are currently planning to build a new, two acre exhibit that would be more spacious and provide a more natural habitat for the elephants. The new space will cost $19 million.
"There's only one solution to the tragic, the embarrassing elephant problem going on at (the zoo), and it's to release those elephants from captivity and place them in a sanctuary," Barker says.
A handful of zoos around the country have closed their elephant exhibits, including San Francisco.
The elephant exhibit was not an official agenda at Friday's meeting.