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Letters: What $42 million could do for elephants

June 27, 2012

Re "The zoo and its elephants," Editorial, June 22

When you consider that wild elephants roam up to 30 miles every day, elephant enclosures that can be measured in single-digit acreage are staggeringly insufficient. Spending $42 million for 3.8 acres — which are cordoned off into sections — is a colossal waste of money.

Think of how many elephants could have benefited from even a tiny fraction of those funds. Scientists with the Amboseli Elephant Research Project need just $100,000 to support the annual budget for a project that will make a difference for the preserve's 1,500 African elephants, and for the Kenyan farmers living near Amboseli who lose their crops to elephants every year.

It's time to stop throwing away money and resources to house elephants in cramped spaces while wild Asian and African elephants so desperately need our help.

Jennifer O'Connor

Norfolk, Va.

O'Connor is a staff writer for the PETA Foundation.

Those suing to close the Los Angeles Zoo's new elephant exhibit are well intentioned but naive. They have a lovely vision of the wild that is rapidly disappearing.

Elephants in the wild roam extensively in search of food, water and mates. Many die in their pursuits or are killed by poachers and farmers who don't want competition.

The zoo's two female elephants were rescued from the circus life. I never attend circuses, where elephants are subjected to extreme confinement, sometimes brutal training and humiliating "performances." If you want to go after bad behavior, go after circuses.

There are two accredited sanctuaries for elephants in the U.S., in Tennessee and in Northern California. They need support as they take in the old and tired former performers. And there is only so much room. But wildlife sanctuaries suffer from a lack of funds.

All this money wasted on lawsuits could be spent on saving animals.

Patricia LoVerme

South Pasadena

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