Free Billy the Elephant from His Lonely, Cramped Life at the L.A. Zoo

Billy's new video by singer/songwriter Nicolette Aubourg. 
Update: 8/14/23 A motion to have Billy sent to Sanctuary has been presented to Los Angeles City Council. Council File: 22-1113 It is very important that we respectfully pressure Mayor Karen Bass and the Los Angeles City Council by contacting Nithya Raman who is the new councilmember of district 4 in place of David Ryu. Her contact information is 213-473-7004. Email: You do not need to live in her district.
Directory for all Councilmembers to show our support and give reasons why we do:
You can also make a public comment directly on the motion here:
Join our updated Facebook group 'Free Billy the Elephant' for more ongoing updates:
Ongoing protests are being held regularly at the Los Angeles Zoo. Please check our Facebook group for the next one to attend, and bring others, and share. Thank you!
Billy the elephant has lived at the Los Angeles Zoo for over 33 years, since he was taken as a youngster from his natural environment in Malaysia. For most of this time, he has endured living all by himself in an extremely tiny enclosure. As a result, he has displayed significant signs of stress, such as swaying and rocking side to side and head-bobbing due to frustration, boredom and possibly depression.
Elephants naturally need to roam several miles a day to maintain healthy joints and feet. They are also highly intelligent, sensitive, and social animals who need to be engaged by their surroundings in order to be happy. Billy has none of this. 
The last time I saw Billy at the L.A. Zoo I was horrified to see how miserable he looks in his cramped enclosure. I am not alone in being worried that Billy will face the same fate as his predecessors at the Los Angeles Zoo, who died prematurely due to conditions elephants often acquire while living in enclosed and cramped quarters.  

After public protests and a lawsuit filed on Billy's behalf a few years ago, the Los Angeles Zoo promised to close down the old elephant exhibit and build a bigger, better enclosure for Billy that would be more like his natural environment. 
Upon visiting the new exhibit, however, I was shocked to find that poor Billy is still being kept in a tiny area separate from the other elephants. He was still displaying the same repetitive swaying and head-bobbing behavior that demonstrates his stress, boredom, and depression. When I spoke to the attendant on duty, he had no awareness of the basic needs of elephants, such as their need for daily exercise. He told me that the elephants were rotated from one small area to another. 
This new "state-of-the-art" elephant exhibit is not at all what the L.A. Zoo promised it would be. It seems to me that the new exhibit was built more to impress paying visitors than to meet Billy's needs. Not to mention that it cost taxpayers 42 million dollars. I feel betrayed and lied to by the Los Angeles Zoo, and I'm still very much concerned about the fate of Billy.
Please sign and share this petition to demand that the L.A. Zoo free Billy to an elephant sanctuary because he is displaying severe signs of stress in his present environment. 

We are asking that signers of this petition please inundate Los Angeles City Council and the Mayor with calls and letters/emails that politely express that they do not agree with elephants being kept in zoos and why, and that they should be released to elephant sanctuaries.

There are two amazing accredited sanctuaries who are ready and most willing to take Billy. They are the Performing Animal Welfare Society, and the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary. God bless them!

Below are articles and a recent video that shows poor Billy displaying his stress-related behavior of head-bobbing. You need to scroll down on the 'L.A. Progressive' news article by Marcy Winograd.


For more information, please contact; Karen at
Thank you for your continued support for Billy and to free all captive animals from exploitation in zoos.
Karen Eisenlord
On behalf of Billy the Elephant at the Los Angeles Zoo, we the signers of this petition request that he be retired to an elephant sanctuary immediately. He has suffered enough as evidenced by his display of stress-related behavior. The new elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo does not meet Billy's needs as he is still being kept in small enclosures away from the other elephants. This has been witnessed by many who have visited the zoo within the past few years. Anyone that observes Billy in this new exhibit can attest to this. It is also brings to question if Billy is receiving the daily exercise that a judge ordered for him to get, as caretakers who are questioned apparently do not have answers nor understand the needs of elephants. In fact, the other two elephants, Tina and Jewel who are elderly and we have since learned were victims of the circus in their youth, should be released to sanctuaries also. It is clear that the Los Angeles Zoo's elephant exhibit should be shut down as it is not meeting the needs of the elephants. For those who visit the new exhibit first-hand they soon learn that the new exhibit is not what the zoo had claimed it would be, as the elephants are rotated from one small enclosure to another and poor Billy is exhibiting stress-related behavior -- swaying, rocking and head-bobbing. He is miserable, bored, frustrated and depressed. Please release these animals to a sanctuary. The elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo needs to be shut down and the elephants retired to a sanctuary where they can live out the remainder of their lives where their needs will be met more appropriately. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Update #1610 months ago
Excerpts from statement of veterinarian Dr. Ensley after the death of Jewel: ..."I believe the losses of remaining females Tina and Shaunzi will follow, and as I stated in my two reports this pattern of losses at the Los Angeles Zoo foretells the future for Billy if he is not relocated to a higher level of care...I regret the inaction by LA City Councilmembers to follow the recommendation of the special meeting of the Personnel, Audits and Animal Welfare Committee on the 29th (November 2022)"...
Update #15about a year ago
Please continue to contact your Los Angeles City Council representative by email and phone and ask him or her to support Motion #22-1113 directing the Los Angeles Zoo to release Billy the elephant to sanctuary.

Make sure that you make it clear that you support MOTION #22-1113 for Billy the elephant to be released to a sanctuary.
Here is the website for contacting city councilmembers. Thank you!
Update #1411 months ago
Please join our Facebook page to 'Free Billy the Elephant' here:
Ongoing protests are regularly being held at the Los Angeles Zoo. Please check our Facebook page for the next one, to participate and bring others! Please share. Thank you!
Send Billy to Sanctuary!
Update #13about a year ago
Please write a polite message and/or call, Bob Blumenfield and Nithya Raman of the L.A. City Council, Mayor Karen Bass and other members of council to continue supporting Billy being sent to sanctuary. Mr. Blumenfield co-signed the motion 22-1113 to send Billy to Sanctuary.
Post public comments here: Reference file# 22-1113
Protests have started again at the L.A. Zoo. See 'Free Billy the Elephant' on FB.
Update #10about a year ago
A new motion 22-1113 to have Billy sent to sanctuary has been presented by David Koretz and seconded by Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. It is very important that we pressure the LA City Council regarding this by contacting Nithya Raman who is the new councilmember of district 4 in place of David Ryu. Her contact information is: 213-473-7004

DIrectory for all councilmembers to show our support and give reasons why we do:
Sign Petition
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