LA Zoo ordered to look into the deaths of two of their elephants

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

The Los Angeles Zoo was ordered to study the death of two of their elephants, Jewel and Shaunzi, for factors that may have led to their death.

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to have the zoo report back within 30 days to determine the fate of the remaining elephants in captivity before it’s too late.

Shaunzi, 53, died in January and 61-year-old Jewel died a year earlier.

The council also ordered the zoo to report on how it’s caring for Tina and Billy, the only elephants left at the zoo.

“I would rather see these elephants in a sanctuary I’ve made that clear over the years, ” said LA City Council Member Bob Blumenfeld. “Is this in the normal range what are these issues are there things that we could have done or could be doing that being captivity doesn’t contribute to their early demise.”

Courtney Scott of In Defense of Animals is among the activists who protested the deaths of Shaunzi and Jewel. Animal groups have long been trying to get elephants out of the LA zoo and into a sanctuary.

“Of course, its captivity related its always that way because elephants are uniquely unsuited to captivity,” says Scott. “They literally have nowhere to go they just emotionally deadened their physical bodies deteriorate from lack of movement and the lack of stimulation elephants are some of the most intelligent animals on earth.”

Scott says the remaining elephants are suffering even more since the deaths of Shaunzi and Jewel from lack of companionship. Zoo officials have resisted calls to move the elephants, saying they receive the highest level of care. Blumenfeld hopes the study can settle that debate.

“If there are findings in there that indicate their deaths were prematurely caused by being in captivity then we need to focus on that right away,” said Blumenfield.

In Defense of Animals points out dozens of zoos have already closed their elephant exhibits.

NBC4 has contacted the LA Zoo for comment but has not heard back.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.