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Mariana Tosca & Lily Tomlin Speak Out for Elephants

Actor and activist Mariana Tosca (who serves as Chief Animal Welfare Advisor to US Congressman Dennis Kucinich) speaks at a press conference December 3, 2008 at Los Angeles City Hall supporting Council Member Tony Cardenas' motion for the closure of the Los Angeles Zoo's elephant exhibit, with comedienne Lily Tomlin joining her. 12/08

This clip features a song about Billy


Lyric, Bill Dyer  Music, Dick DeBenedictis


Asian Elephants


Attorney David Casselman speaks at LA City Hall to close the LA Zoo's elephant exhibit.


Councilman Tony Cardenas speaks at Los Angeles City Hall to close the elephant exhibit




The lack of proper foot care may very well be a sign of neglect and abuse for a zoo or circus elephant.

The bad feet of elephants in a zoo doesn’t have to be a result of neglect in care by the elephant keepers, it may also be the case that the Zoo is run by a director that put the general health of the elephants in a less priority.

Lack of exercise, long hours standing on hard substrates, and wound contamina-tion from standing in their own excreta are aong the major contributing factors to many elephant foot problems.

Foot problems are seen in approximately half of all captive elephants at some point in their lives. Despite months to years of long-term treatment, chronic foot problems in elephants can lead to permanent disability, death, or euthanasia.

The cost of keeping elephants in zoos is 50 times more expensive than protecting them in the wild.

Ruby at PAWS

"Despite zoos and circuses claims that they are keeping elephants for conservation purposes, of the 26 elephant calves born in captivity in the US over the last decade only 6 remain alive. And no elephant born in captivity in the US has ever been released into the wild– rendering claims of conservation void.

When a facility breeds too many animals they become “surplus” and often are sold to laboratories, traveling shows, canned hunting facilities, or to private individuals who may be unqualified to care for them." -Mariana Tosca



Asian Elephants

A small population of Asian elephants exists in Cambodia. The need to protect them and their habitat is a critical component of our project.

It is expected Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary Veterinarians will be called upon to treat victims of poaching, land mines and loss of habitat. Most of these animals can be trans-located to the Conservation Area, but older, injured or abused animals will require care and will live out the remainder of their lives at the observation, monitored portion of the sanctuary.

The elephant habitat will also require and utilize a large portion of the Observation Area due to their need to range over large areas. The elephant area will include streams, ponds and waterfalls for bathing. Public viewing areas will be located, if possible, near these popular spots. Natural forest and native vegetation will be a major part of their habitat with large barns for night quarters and housing for sick or older individuals. (MORE)




Powerful and politically connected ivory dealers continue to profit from the brutal killing of elephants in mass numbers; the poachers' hands are barely slapped, orphans are left stranded and this majestic sentient and endangered species has little to no protection.

Your help and support is needed to make this stop! Go!

Ivory Bust

Poached Elephant


WFL Endangered Stream Live


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"Concrete Evidence"


Mariana Tosca - David Casselman - Catherine Doyle- Sheryl Greene & Adam Roberts

Premiere May 10th at 4PM PST


Baby Elephants Face Firing Squad, Must Be Moved - URGENT!


Only 5 days left to save the Malawi elephants. The entire herd - up to 70 elephants, including the babies - will be shot dead if they are not moved immediately. Donate to IFAW now! IFAW



BillyMale Asian Elephant

Born in 1985

At L.A. Zoo since 1989

20 yrs solitary confinement at L.A. Zoo

Billy was caught in the wild and forcibly taken from his native home of Malaysia, as part of a trade between the L.A. Zoo and the Malaysian Game Department. Billy lives on approximately one-quarter acre at L.A. Zoo. In the wild, elephants can walk 30 miles in a day. There are roughly 640 acres in one mile.

With no other elephants near him, Billy lives an unnatural, solitary life at the Zoo. While male elephants are often kept separate from other elephants in zoos, in the wild males can display social connections, residing in bachelor herds or frequenting areas with female elephants, sometimes moving from family to family. In India, younger bulls join with older bulls to crop raid.

For many years Billy has been displaying stereotypic behavior in the form of repetitive head bobbing that goes on for extended periods of time. Stereotypic behavior is often viewed as an indicator of poor welfare, caused by factors such as restriction of movement, size of enclosure, social isolation, and lack of complexity in the physical environment. Billy has experienced all of these factors at the L.A. Zoo. In fact, Billy was routinely chained each night, likely from the time of his arrival at L.A. Zoo in 1989 until 1994, for approximately 12 to 14 hours each night. It was during this period that a keeper reportedly physically abused Billy by using electric shock on him.

Experts state that stereotypic behavior can lead to foot problems such as nail cracks (which Billy already has), and abscesses and abrasions to the sole of the foot. Foot-related problems are one of the leading causes of euthanasia in captive elephants in the United States.

-Voice for the Animals Foundation




Mariana Tosca: Spokesperson for Voice for the AnimalsMariana Tosca Foundation, Chief Animal Welfare Advisor to US Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and as a lifelong animal & environmental advocate she lectures on issues of Animal Protection. She is the International Spokesperson for In Defense of Animals, an Advisory Board member for Born Free USA and Elephant Voices and a spokesperson for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.


David CasselmanDavid Casselman: Senior trial partner in the Los Angeles law firm of Wasserman, Comden & Casselman. Mr. Casselman is the current California President of the American Board of Trial Advocates, an exclusive organization of lawyers, each with a minimum of 20 jury trials, and he is handling the current lawsuit regarding the LA Zoo. He is a long time friend of animals of all kinds, having provided millions of dollars of pro bono legal services to animals and those who try to protect them. Mr Casselman is also the Founder of the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary.


Catherine DoyleCatherine Doyle: Elephant Welfare Specialist for In Defense of Animals and Founder of LA Alliance for Elephants. Catherine is an elephant expert and avid defender of the rights of elephants to be free from forced captivity, torture, and isolation.


Sheryl GreeneSheryl Greene: Sheryl holds a law degree from Cornell and has been an active animal welfare advocate 20 yrs. She's been working on the legal issue regarding the LA Zoo and serving as a key litigation analyst on this case for WCC Law since 2007.



Adam RobertsAdam Roberts: Co-Founder & Senior Vice President of Born Free USA, Adam began his animal protection and conservation
career in Washington DC. Adam serves on the Board of Directors of the Species Survival Network (SSN), a global coalition working on wildlife trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, he's a Member on the Board for Humane USA, and he recently helped launch the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.



The Seriousness of Foot Problems for an Elephant




Send Tina, Jewel and Queenie to Sanctuary:

IDA Elephant Task Force:

Print & Share Info:

Be a Zoo Checker on conditions at your local zoos:


Protect African Elephants:

Tell Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey to cease using wild and exotic animals in its circuses!: Born Free ACTION

Help Lucy Go to Sanctuary: IFAW Petition

Retire Anne from Circus:

Elephant Accident Prevention Act:


Create a Display in your local public library. Most libraries will allow local citizens free space where you can display leaflets, posters, books about how elephants thrive in the wild and suffer in zoos.

Don’t buy ivory, don’t sell ivory, don’t wear ivory!

You can also express your view to others that there should be no trade in ivory. This is even more important if you have influential friends or contacts in decision-making positions related to this issue! Most nations (169) participate in CITES, The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, and every two and a half years when the Convention meets the topic of whether to allow the sale of elephant products (mainly ivory) is up for discussion. Make your feelings known!

Be an Eco-Tourist

Finding ways for people and free-ranging elephants to live in harmony is a major challenge. In some countries projects have shown that it is possible to influence positive attitudes towards elephant as long as local communities benefit, through tourism, from the presence of elephants. In this context eco-tourism based on respect for people, nature and local culture can be an important contributor.

Learn more!

More Things You Can Do: If you are going to visit Africa, do not patronize countries such as Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia, which have demonstrated their tenacity for exterminating elephants on their soil. Instead, choose to spend your tourist dollars in elephant-friendly countries such as Kenya and Uganda.

Write to your U.S. Representative and your two U.S. Senators and tell them that you do not want your tax dollars spent on the trophy hunting of elephants. Ask them to stop funding the CAMPFIRE program. (U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510; U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515.)

Write to the conservation organizations that you want to support and ask them about their policies regarding elephants. Do they support trophy hunting? Do they support the ivory trade? What is their position on exporting live elephants to zoos and circuses? Spend your well-intentioned donation wisely.





Voice for the Animals Foundation:

In Defense of Animals:

Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary:


Born Free USA:

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust:

HSUS Elephant Trade Fact Sheet:


Amboseli Trust for Elephants:

The Elephant Sanctuary:

IDA Quick Elephant Facts:

Dr. Joyce Poole Ph.D Declaration: LA Zoo Condiditons

Dr Gary Kuehn Declaration: Abuse of Elephants at LA Zoo

More Expert Declations: Voice for the Animals Foundation

Species Survival Network:



BillyIn Defense of Animals has long maintained that zoos are failing to meet the physical and psychological needs of elephants, causing a range of zoo-induced health problems and early death. Using public records laws, IDA has obtained veterinary records for elephants at more than 40 U.S. zoos. In an analysis of these records submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in December 2006, IDA reported that 62 percent of elephants suffered from painful foot ailments and 42 percent suffered from joint disorders. The analysis also revealed high rates of behavioral problems, birth complications and reproductive disorders, including early infertility, high infant mortality and maternal death rates. Separate data indicate additional problems such as high infant mortality and maternal death rates.

At least half of elephants in zoos suffer from arthritis and/or foot disease, which are the leading causes of euthanasia for captive elephants. The conditions are a direct result of cramming earth's largest land mammals into tiny zoo exhibits of a few acres or less. Intense confinement prevents elephants from walking and forces them to stand on hard, unyielding surfaces for years on end.




Animals are abused and exploited in a variety of forms of "entertainment." Born Free USA united with API's primary focus is on the use of animals in circuses, where elephants, lions, tigers, and other animals are sentenced to a lifetime of misery in order to provide a few moments of human amusement.

-Born Free USA









Listen Here!

"Concrete Evidence"

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A robust program - Quite thought provoking!

-Adam M. Roberts, Sr VP
Born Free USA, Washington, DC

"Concrete Evidence"

An expert guest panel spotlights the serious health factors that elephants face while confined to small concrete spaces in zoos and circuses. The discussion includes the topics of wild capture, habitat destruction and poaching as related to both captive elephants and those in the wild. Updates regarding the ongoing law suit against the City of Los Angeles will be discussed along with a focused look at the Billy, the LA Zoo's elephant.

Featured Guests: Mariana Tosca, David Casselman, Catherine Dolye, Sheryl Greene & Adam Roberts

Music from "When Elephants Cry" by Mayuka Thais

Premiere: Sunday May 10th 4PM PST


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By Dr Joyce Poole

Billy's stereotypic head bobbing, is not a behavior observed in the wild; it is a coping mechanism for the loneliness, boredom and frustration that characterizes his life in the zoo. His behavior is symptomatic of the enormous frustration that a vigorous, highly social and intelligent creature experiences in confinement. And contrary to statements by the zoo, male elephants are not solitary. Until the age of 14 they live in the company of their families and, as adults, they spend two thirds of their time with other elephants. Billy was not designed for solitary confinement. Captivity is, in fact, particularly gruesome for males. Well fed and isolated they become trapped in a heightened sexual state known as musth, which makes their level of frustration, despair and on occasion, rage, even more intolerable.




Joyce PooleDr Joyce Poole is the Director of ElephantVoices, a member of the AmboseliElephant Research Project and previous head of Kenya Wildlife Service's Elephant Program. Observing the natural behavior of elephants has been her life's work. She is a renowned elephant researcher and elephant expert who is devoted to the observation and study and protection of elephants.


"I feel sad when I see elephants in zoos and I have seen a lot of sad elephants in zoos. On the basis of all I have learned about elephants my personal feeling is that those zoos that cannot provide a full social experience for elephants do not have the moral right to keep them. I don't feel that any of the zoos I have visited meet the standards that we should aspire to.

As long as elephants are confined in small spaces, behind bars, in barns, on chains, moved with electric prods and bull hooks, kept in socially deprived conditions, social misfits will be produced. You cannot raise intelligent, socially and emotionally complex beings under socially deprived and emotionally abused conditions and expect to produce normal individuals. It won't work."

- Dr Joyce Poole


Elephants are highly intelligent and they have complex and deep emotions.

Evidence Weighs In

“Zoos can no longer ignore the mounting scientific evidence of the devastating effects of captivity on elephants,” said Suzanne Roy, IDA Program Director. “It’s absurd for zoos to claim that they’re saving these endangered animals when they’re actually killing them decades before their natural time.”

"At this point, definitive scientific evidence documents the harm that zoo conditions inflict on elephants," said former L.A. Zoo veterinarian Gary Kuehn. "Elephants are suffering and dying premature-ly in zoos, and claims by the zoo industry to the contrary have been revealed as fraudulent."




Science Reports

The Science article, entitled “Compromised Survivorship in Zoo Elephants,” reports on a survey of 4,500 elephants and concludes that zoos drastically shorten adult lifespans in both African and Asian elephants. Asian elephants in European zoos had a median lifespan of just 18.9 years compared to 41.7 years for wild elephants in an Asian logging camp. African elephants’ median lifespan was 16.9 years, compared to 56.0 years for free-ranging elephants in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park.






BullhooksA bullhook, or ankus, is made of wood, metal, or other substantial material. It is approximately 2 to 3 feet long, and at one end is a sharp steel hook and poker. It is used to poke, prod, strike, and hit animals to “train” them — all for a few moments of human amusement.


ChainsChaining is one of the most common methods used to confine elephants in captivity. It severely restricts an elephant’s movements, eliminating its ability to lie down, walk, or socialize with other elephants. The severity of these restrictions can result in neurotic psychological behavior, physical injury, and even the death of captive elephants.

-Born Free USA



Mayuka Thais

"Concrete Evidence" with Song

"When Elephants Cry"

Mayuka Thais Singer/ Song Writer

© All Rights Reserved

Animals in Entertainment

Make a call to NBC to help end the cruelty.

Great apes need you to act now to stop Deal or No Deal from featuring a chimpanzee in an upcoming episode.

Deal or No Deal has a two-hour special scheduled on Monday, May 18, that will feature a live chimpanzee. To train great apes, trainers forcibly remove infants from their mothers. These babies are punched, kicked, and beaten with sticks and fists as part of the training process to ensure that they perform correctly in the fewest takes possible while on set. Great apes can live to be more than 60 years old, but at around 8 years of age, they become too powerful to be safely handled. They are often discarded at substandard roadside zoos or are simply warehoused. To learn more, visit

Please take just a few minutes to call NBC to urge it to pull any scenes featuring a chimpanzee from its upcoming episode of Deal or No Deal and to pledge never to use great apes in future episodes. You can reach NBC at 212-664-4444.

Thank you for your kindness and dedication to animals.

Learn More






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Photo Credits: Voice for the Animal Foundation, Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, Art Wolfe, Bradley Stookey, ElephantVoices, Wildlife Direct

Special Thanks to Melya Kaplan (VFTAF), In Defense of Animals, Born Free USA, ElephantVoices, Ambolseli Trust for Elephants, Mayuka Thais

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