Bob Barker pleads for elephants' release
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bob Barker pleaded with city officials to close the Los Angeles Zoo's pachyderm exhibit and allow its three elephants to retire to a sanctuary.
Appearing jovial when he arrived at Friday's City Council meeting, the veteran game show host and longtime animal rights activist turned serious when he began to talk about the zoo's elephants, Gita, Ruby and Billy.
"I came here today to ask, to beg you ... to vote to release those elephants from that zoo," Barker said. "They have lived in misery."
Gita and Ruby are ill, leaving only Billy on display. A fourth elephant, Tara, died in 2004.
Several zoos nationwide, including San Francisco's, have closed their elephant exhibits.
Barker denounced plans to build a 2-acre, $19 million exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo that supporters say would provide a spacious and more natural environment for the elephants. The 82-year-old host of "The Price is Right" said it was too costly and would likely be obsolete by the time it is completed.
The exhibit was not an issue on the council's agenda and no vote was taken.
"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 said.