The Price is Wrong Mr. Barker

Game show host loses out on bid to move elephant

Bob Barker won't get his elephant friend to come on down to Northern California after all, despite pledging $1.5 million to make the move happen.

The city council voted Wednesday to finish a $42 million elephant exhibit and keep its lone pachyderm Billy at the zoo, despite pleas by celebrity opponents to scrap the project.
The decision came after an emotional hearing attended by several hundred people, including "Price is Right" host Bob Barker, who pledged $1.5 million earlier this week to move Billy to a sanctuary in Northern California.
Supporters of the project cheered after the council vote. Barker, however, said he was "terribly disappointed" and hoped Billy fared better than other elephants at the zoo.
Officials have said about a dozen have died there since 1968.
Zoo spokesman Jason Jacobs has said the facility has vastly improved its elephant program over the years and has been hailed as a model by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the organization that accredits the nation's zoological institutions.
The new, six-acre "Pachyderm Forest." will be seven times larger than the current enclosure and feature nearly four acres of open space with pools, mud holes and a waterfall.
It's one of the largest planned elephant enclosures in the country.
Animal rights activists and celebrities, including Barker, Halle Barry and Goldie Hawn, have complained the new exhibit would still be too confining and depressing for the behemoths that walk dozens of miles a day in the wild.
A city budget committee recommended last year that construction be stopped as City Hall wrestles with its economic troubles.
About $12 million already has been spent on the project, which is 30 percent completed.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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