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the skunks of los feliz
The L.A. Zoo elephant controversy continued to build this weekend, as a pro-Zoo throng led by octogenarian actress Betty White converged on the zoo to protest calls to close the municipal menagerie's troubled elephant exhibit.

Bowing to pressure from animal-rights activists who say the health of the elephants is endangered (a charge that Zoo officials and their allies hotly dispute), Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has commissioned a study to determine whether the living conditions for the Zoo's pachyderms are acceptably humane.

The three elephants, who share cramped accommodations desperately in need of renovation (not unlike many Angelenos), could conceivably be moved fom the Zoo to an animal sanctuary if the commission finds that the exhibit should be closed, something that White, et al, believe would not be in the best interest of the animals.

City officials will issue their report "soon", and you can be sure that whatever the findings, the elephant dung will continue to hit the fan.
Did someone say "elephants?"

Man I just wish Antonio would release the findings of the study and be done with it, either way... though I have a feeling the elephants are going to stay.

I never saw the mayor as bowing to pressure to animal activists. Late in the campaign he openly pandered for their votes by stating definitively that he thought Ruby, Gita, and Billy should be removed and the exhibit closed. If anything, since his election and his realization there are two sides to the tale as well as 60,000-plus zoo member households who pretty much disagree with him, he's throttled back and for whatever reason that report, which was originally due at the end of September, has been delayed and delayed and delayed.

Hell, he promised to fire the head of the city's animal services department and found a way out of that. My bet is he'll come down on the side of keeping the elephants here and will talk tough and proud for the cameras demanding that the zoo and the city marshal ever resource available to give Angelenos an exhibit they can point to with pride and one that caters to the pachyderms every need.

Then once the aftermath of that posturing and rhetoric dies down, the zoo will go ahead and build that 2.25-acre exhibit that's currently on the books.
Amen, brother.

This is one of those stories that takes on a life of it's own: just when you think it's dying down, Betty White pickets the Zoo.

It is hard to keep track of Hizzoner's "triangulations" on this issue. He was agin' it (the exhibit, that is), before he was for it, and now he wants political cover to do - what? Prolly continue construction, per your prediction.

We'll find out soon.

And then, Will, after the commission makes it's Solomonic proclamation on the fate of L.A.'s pachyderms, I make you this solemn promise: "No more elephants stories - ever!"
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