Slash Jams for Billy the Elephant

Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:03am EST

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Musical Artist Joins Thousands of Supporters Mobilizing to Urge Los Angeles to
Complete LA Zoo`s Pachyderm Forest
LOS ANGELES--(Business Wire)--
Iconic rock guitarist Slash today said that he has joined the thousands of
supporters mobilizing to urge the Los Angeles City Council to complete the LA
Zoo`s Pachyderm Forest, a state-of-the-art new educational habitat for Billy and
other endangered Asian elephants. 

As a touring musician, both with Guns N` Roses and more recently with Velvet
Revolver, Slash has visited numerous zoos throughout the world during his free
time. Slash has been a longtime supporter of the Los Angeles Zoo, where he
gained his appreciation for animals as a child growing up in Southern
California, and knows many of the animal handlers personally. 

"I just want everybody to try to support this cause because it`s very
important," Slash said. "Billy has been taken care of at the zoo for about 20
years. He has four keepers who have been at his beck and call, taking care of
him and providing him with optimal medical care and everything else that he
needs. This enclosure is one of the nicest enclosures he could possibly have." 

During a visit with his family to the zoo on Sunday, Slash toured the planned
new habitat that will house endangered Asian elephants in an area larger than
what Asian elephants now enjoy at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. During his
visit, Slash took time out to tape a video of support from inside an area of the
habitat already finished. The video can be viewed at 

"It`s really beautiful," Slash said. "It`s really well done. It gives the
elephants an amazing amount of room to move around. I`m a huge advocate of this
particular exhibit." 

As the father of two young children, Slash regularly brings his family to the
Los Angeles Zoo so his children can meet the animals and learn of the fragile
state many of them face in the wild. Slash has come to know numerous members of
the zoo staff, describing them as "one of the most conscientious caretakers of
animals I`ve ever met." 

Said Karen Poly, a 25-year animal keeper at the zoo: "I`ve always been impressed
with Slash`s knowledge of animals. In many cases, he is even able to identify
the different subspecies, something that most people can`t do." 

Earlier this month, Jack Hanna, one of the nation`s best-known animal care
experts and director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio, called the
Pachyderm Forest "a model for humane elephant care that will educate generations
to come on the threats Asian elephants face in the wild" after personally
inspecting the site. 

However, a small group of activists is seeking to pressure the City Council to
halt the Pachyderm Forest one-third into construction, even though the council
approved the project 13-2 in 2006. In addition, voters overwhelmingly approved
two bond measures supplying funds for the project. And, approximately 70% of the
more than 60,000 people participating in a Los Angeles Times online poll last
week voted that "zoos are a healthy environment for elephants and provide a
public service." 

The activist group wants to send Billy to an exclusive area hundreds of miles
from Los Angeles, where individuals pay $200 a person to visit. That would deny
working families and the 20,000 schoolchildren a month who now meet Billy any
chance of ever seeing an Asian elephant up close again to learn first-hand of
the dangers these majestic animals face. 

Please visit for more information on the Pachyderm Forest. 

Laura Segal Stegman Public Relations
Laura Stegman
310-470-6321 (office)
310-991-2835 (cell) 

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