Monday, June 12, 2006

Another Premature and Unnatural Elephant Death in a Zoo: 48-Year-Old Asian Elephant Named Gita at Los Angeles Zoo

Once again, another death. A very important fact to note:

The average life span of Asian elephants in captivity is 42-years. In the wild, Asian elephants live about 70 years. Unless you’re an idiot, you can see the obvious difference.

Rightly, groups are calling for the resignation of the director of the Los Angeles Zoo, John Lewis, claiming that once again, it’s poor living conditions at the zoo that caused the death.

Whatever happens though, it’s clear that the lives of elephants in zoos are unnaturally short and painful.


Activists seek shake-up at the L.A. Zoo after elephant's death

Sunday, June 11, 2006

(06-11) 20:32 PDT Los Angeles (AP) --

Animal rights activists have called for the resignation of the director of the Los Angeles Zoo, holding him responsible for the death of a 48-year-old Asian elephant named Gita.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals faxed a letter Sunday to Director John Lewis, saying Gita's death was caused by poor living conditions at the zoo.

PETA's letter said Lewis ignored "the simple fact that space limitations prevent the Los Angeles Zoo from adequately providing for the physical and social needs of the world's largest land mammal."

Zoo officials did not return calls seeking comment.

About 40 representatives from other activist groups protested Sunday in front of the zoo's entrance, demanding the elephants be transferred to a sanctuary.

"Our main message is that our organization holds the zoo, the mayor and city officials accountable for Gita's death," said Catherine Doyle of In Defense of Animals. "Gita was warehoused, held in inadequate conditions that worsened her already bad conditions, including arthritis."

Gita died Saturday morning after she was found sitting with her back legs tucked under. It was not immediately known whether a necropsy scheduled for Sunday at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab in San Bernardino had been completed. A call to the lab was not returned.

Zoo officials said they believed Gita died when toxins from her muscles entered her bloodstream under the crushing weight of her own frame. The elephant had suffered arthritis for years.

Lewis had said Gita outlived the 42-year average life span of Asian elephants in captivity. In the wild, Asian elephants live about 70 years.

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