• Don Lichterman

CITES, Bandhavgarh National Park, Billy at the LA Zoo & Toasts for Tusks in the Elephant in The Room

This past Sunday, the member parties of CITES took the extraordinary decision to protect the lives of wild baby elephants from lives of captivity and suffering.

This preliminary decision is a remarkable recognition that elephants don't belong in the entertainment industry — it’s a huge step in the right direction. But the work is not over yet! There is a very good chance that this will come back to the floor in an attempt to overturn and we need your voice to be heard.

The United States, Canada, and the EU are all opposing this historic move just so they can keep their zoos full. We must let these governments know that elephants should not be kept in captivity, thousands of miles from where they belong.

If the proposal is not upheld, baby African elephants in Zimbabwe and Botswana will be torn from their mothers and destined to a life of misery.

Sign on to our letter demanding that the Secretary of State takes action and ensures that the United States commits to the protection of wild African elephants.

In Bandhavgarh National Park, India, terrified elephants are chained, beaten, and forced to carry up to six people at a time in the name of “ecotourism.” Emaciated elephants are repeatedly whipped with five-foot-long bamboo canes as they scream in agony and urinate on themselves out of distress.


Wildlife photographer Norman Watson witnessed two mahouts (elephant trainers) forcing an adult elephant to the ground using a sharp hook and ruthlessly beating the animal for ten minutes, only stopping when the man was too tired to continue the attack.

In another incident, two five-year-old elephants tried to escape a harsh beating by a mahout, but their legs were chained so tightly they could only hop and shuffle.


The elephants here are used for “elephant safaris.” As many as six tourists at once sit atop the animals as they trek through the reserve in search of the freely-roaming tigers.

The national park is an important conservation and ecotourism establishment for wild tigers in India — but it’s hell for elephants.


No animal deserves to be tortured and abused — whether in the name of conservation or entertainment.


Sign this petition urging Field Director Pathak to stop exploiting elephants for tourism immediately.

Billy, the Lonely Elephant at the Los Angeles Zoo!

Billy the elephant has lived at the Los Angeles Zoo for nearly 30 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 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. 


PLEASE CONTINUE TO WRITE TO THE LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL TO FREE BILLY THE ELEPHANT TO A SANCTUARY HERE -- https://www.lacity.org/your-government/elected-officials/city-council/council-directory


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.


Below is the contact information for the Mayor and City Council Members:

councilmember.cedillo@lacity.org, councilmember.krekorian@lacity.org, councilmember.blumenfield@lacity.org, david.ryu@lacity.org paul.koretz@lacity.org, councilmember.martinez@lacity.org, councilmember.fuentes@lacity.org, councilmember.harris-dawson@lacity.org, councilmember.price@lacity.org, councilmember.wesson@lacity.org councilmember.bonin@lacity.org, councilmember.englander@lacity.org, councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org, councilmember.huizar@lacity.org, councildistrict15@lacity.org, councilmember.buscaino@lacity.org, mayor.garcetti@lacity.org


This link gives their addresses for regular mail: https://www.lacity.org/city-government/city-council/council-directory


Phone lines -- https://www.lacity.org/city-government/city-directory

Mayor Garcetti -- http://www.lamayor.org/talk-us


I would like to share some of the hard work that 'Elephant Guardians of Los Angeles' have been doing, including aspiring to open up a new elephant sanctuary for elephant bulls in joined forces with the Kerulos Center based on ten principles of being: knowing, safety, self-determination, acceptance, support and trust. http://www.kerulos.org/our-projects/being-sanctuary/10-principles-of-sanctuary/


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.


https://www.laprogressive.com/elephant-guardians/

http://www.elephantguardians.org/

http://www.kerulos.org/our-projects/abes/billys-campaign-freedom/

http://www.kerulos.org/our-projects/abes/

http://releasebilly.blogspot.com/2016_02_01_archive.html

http://releasebilly.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2016-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2017-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=8


I ask for donations to the worthy cause of opening up an all elephant bull sanctuary at the Kerulos Center here: http://www.kerulos.org/donate


In closing I would like to share a poet's hauntingly beautiful yet sad write:

http://tanaka8120.deviantart.com/art/Extinction-576202449


NOTICE -- ANOTHER PROTEST AT L.A. ZOO AGAINST THE EXPLOITATION OF ANIMALS IN CAPTIVITY -- BECAUSE 'FREEDOM MATTERS!


We are planning another anti-captivity protest at the Los Angeles Zoo soon (to be announced).  It is sponsored by Free Billy the Elephant, Elephant Guardians of Los Angeles, Los Angeles For Animals and A Group of Animal Lovers. Bring friends and family!This will be a general anti-captivity, anti-zoo, anti-exploitation demonstration for ALL of the Animals held at the zoo. Billy and the other elephants are a part of this as well as all of the other animals at the zoo. Bring signs along the lines of "Freedom Matters" and/or "Let Wild Things Be Wild". Nothing graphic and NO profanity. We are there to educate the public, not harass them. Please see the rules for the protest below - we hope to see you there! And please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.Rules for Protest at Los Angeles Zoo:1. We must remain 16 feet away from the entrance and the ticket booth2. We cannot impede traffic (auto or pedestrian)3. No tables or chairs4. No graphic signs5. No sound amplification equipment can be used, per the Los Angeles Zoo Free Speech Policy


NOTE: We are there to educate not harass zoo visitors - most people do not know there is anything wrong with the zoo and are just hoping to enjoy a fun and educational outing with their children. We plan to have a list of alternatives in the Los Angeles area for families where they can learn about Animals without exploitation. If you have any suggestions for the list, please let us know. Thank you for your continued support of Billy! OTHER UPDATES -- regarding Billy the elephant;- Discussion of Motion to Release Billy: We need to organize people from Ryus' district (District 4, the Los Angeles Zoo is in his district) to contact him in support of Billy's Motion. Kiersten has organized a list of Neighborhood Councils in Ryu's District as place to start. - Update on ABES: The Kerulos Center is moving forward with establishing ABES, the All Bull Elephants' Sanctuary in Georgia. We Need to raise funds. Kiersten is available to speak to groups interested in supporting the sanctuary after October, when the business plan is complete.


PLEASE CONTINUE TO WRITE AND/OR CALL THE LOS ANGELES COUNCIL MEMBERS REGARDING YOUR SUPPORT TO FREE BILLY THE ELEPHANT TO A SANCTUARY. A LIST OF EMAILS AND PHONE NUMBERS FOR THEM IS POSTED ABOVE.


For more information, please contact; Kiersten at kcluster4756@roadrunner.com and Karen at karenleis@gmail.com Thank you for your continued support for Billy and to free all captive animals from exploitation in zoos.Sincerely,Karen Eisenlord.

Click here to help!

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is convening to decide the fate of some of Africa's most threatened species.

Add your name in support of enhanced protections for giraffes, white rhinos, elephants, and pancake tortoises. Africa's wildlife MUST be given a fighting chance.


These treasured species don't stand a chance... if we don't give them a fighting chance right now!


And, please join us in Washington D.C. on October 20th for a festive champagne brunch to help save elephants and other at-risk Indian wildlife.


Meet Wildlife SOS founders, Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani, who will be coming in from India and sharing stories about the organization's new elephant hospital and other updates from their elephant, bear and leopard sanctuaries. Guests will enjoy a delicious brunch buffet with a sweet and savory Toast Bar, coffee, juice, mimosas and more!

Date:  October 20 (Sunday)

Time:  11 AM- 1:30 PM Location:  Conrad Hotel DC Tickets:  $75 or $800 for VIP Table 

Don't miss out, get your tickets today!

We hope to see you there...The Wildlife SOS Team

Elephant in The Room

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Our companies are known for creating products that enhance people's lives.  Through Sunset Corporation of America and its companies, we’re equally dedicated to improving lives.   Our commitment extends to helping local communities, fostering better educational systems, supporting the arts and culture, helping disadvantaged youth, protecting and improving the environment, animal welfare, wildlife issues and encouraging employee volunteerism.


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