The Los Angeles Zoo’s controversial $42-million Pachyderm Forest development, which would house their lone asian elephant named Billy, has attracted a number of celebrity endorsements, including Guns n’ Roses’ guitarist Slash.
But today we learned that the animal rights side of the table, which wants to send Billy to the Performing Animal Welfare Society to spend his days with other elephants, has some heavyweight celebrity backing of their own: long-time animal activist and television personality Bob Barker says he will donate $1.5 million to help move Billy to the sanctuary.
“The thousands of Angelenos who agonized over Billy’s tragic life at the Los Angeles Zoo will rejoice to learn that now Billy will have the opportunity to roam over countless acres at the PAWS sanctuary, living the life that nature intended for him,” Barker wrote in a letter last week to Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas, who supports a move to the sanctuary.
The zoo has already spent $12 million on the elephant exhibit, which has been stalled pending further approval from the LA city council, scheduled to meet this Wednesday. If you live in Los Angeles, make sure to contact your city councilperson to express your concern.
Barker has a history of supporting animal rights activism and is famous for closing every epsiode of The Price is Right with the line “Bob Barker reminding you: help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered. Goodbye, everybody!”
In 2007, Barker donated $300,000 to move an elephant from the LA Zoo to the same sanctuary.