Jonathan Lloyd

Animal Activists Commission Billboard in Fight Over Billy the Elephant

A new billboard was on display Monday off the 5 Freeway in Commerce, marking the latest jab in the fight over an elephant at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Billy, the elephant at the center of accusations and lawsuits, has lived at the zoo for most of his 30 years. He's been the subject of protests against his captivity by activists who argue the zoo is not suitable for his species.

The billboard, commissioned by online community Care2, features a picture of the elephant and the text, "LA Zoo: Don't Let Billy Died Behind Bars." It includes the hashtage #FreeBilly. 

It will be on display, facing northbound traffic, through Nov. 19.

Last year, the group hosted a petition on it web site, calling on a move for Billy to a wildlife sanctuary. The petition calls for the shutdown of the zoo's elephant exhibit.

A wildlife sanctuary would not be in Billy's best interest, zoo officials said, adding that they are usually reserved for animals with no other options.

Zoo officials have said the zoo's three elephants, including Billy, are given "social contact every day through visual, auditory and physical contact." The elephants are also offered "daily enrichment" such as unexpected treats left in foraging areas for them to discover, according to the zoo.

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