$42 Million For Elephants

California's budget is at critical mass, so why is the state spending millions on an elephant enclosure?

That's a good question, and it's now up for debate.

The Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote today on whether to scrap a new elephant enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo.

The "Pachyderm Forest" is about 30 percent complete, and is budgeted to cost $42 million. The plan is to create a 6-acre site complete with pools, mud holes, and a waterfall. It would increase the size of the current elephant exhibit by seven fold.

But a city budget committee is recommending that construction be stopped because of L-A's budget troubles. And animal rights activists and celebrities argue that the new exhibit would still be too confining and depressing for elephants. They want the zoo's elephant exhibit dropped entirely.

The Los Angeles Zoo has a history of elephant problems. Officials say about a dozen have died since 1968.


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