Born Free USA Blog
by Will Travers,
Chief Executive Officer
What can you say about a big-hearted bloke who has rescued dolphins, tigers, elephants and more and whose parents once helped a lion cub from a department store by caring for him in their backyard and engineering his rightful return to Africa? You can safely say that he's got great animal instincts! In 1984, Will Travers joined his parents — "Born Free" film stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers — to form what became The Born Free Foundation. With knowledge, passion and compassion dripping from his every word, Will's blogs are sure to make you embrace our crusade to Keep Wildlife in the Wild ®.
It makes me mad!
Instead of listening to the wisdom of some of the world’s greatest elephant experts, with hundreds of years of combined experience and expertise, 11 of the 15 Los Angeles City Council members bought the vague promises of LA Zoo authorities and voted to continue the controversial and meager Pachyderm Forest for Billy, the zoo’s solitary male Asian elephant and others the zoo now hopes to acquire. Less than 4 acres. A staggering $42 million price tag.
Only time will prove whether the Council’s decision and the claims of the Zoo Authorities are correct. However, if they think that the spotlight will now turn elsewhere, they are wrong. If anything, scrutiny will now intensify. It is entirely justifiable for those who have campaigned with logic, science, experience, and compassion to have the elephant enclosure closed down — and Billy sent to the PAWS Elephant Sanctuary in San Andreas, California — to hold the Zoo authorities personally responsible for the physical and mental well-being of Billy and any future elephant acquisitions. And they must be accountable to both citizens and donors for the expenditure of such a huge, some say obscene, amount of money.
Poor Billy! Instead of the 20 acres he could have enjoyed at PAWS, as well as the ability to associate with other elephants, it looks like his future will remain a ‘gilded cage’ in Los Angeles.
By the way, the Kenya Wildlife Service — with 6,000,000 acres of that East African nation to look after, hundreds if not thousands of species and 33,000 wild elephants — had an annual budget of about $20 million in 2007. Compare, contrast — and weep.