LA Zoo Weathers Pachyderm Storm

Remote crews for several of our fair city’s morning TV shows were parked today at the north end of Griffith Park, reporting on the latest developments in a $42 million elephant soap opera. In case you haven’t heard, the LA Zoo is opening its big new “Elephants of Asia” exhibit on Thursday, and some folks are none too happy about it.

Many jungle moons ago, Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs purchased the Otis Ranch in the San Fernando Valley and renamed it Tarzana, giving rise a decade later to the town of the same name. Somewhat ironically, that is where the attorney fighting against the older elephant exhibit is based.

Per the Los Angeles Daily News:

“It’s abusive. The zoo should know better,” said David Casselman, an attorney whose Tarzana-based firm is handling a lawsuit aiming to shutter the exhibit… The suit, filed by the late actor Robert Culp and real estate agent Aaron Leider, claims the zoo is guilty of animal abuse. It also asserts government waste and injury to public property, including the deaths of 14 elephants over the years. No trial date has been set.

Among those objecting to the new Asia exhibit, which at six acres is almost twice the size of the older 3.8-acre pachyderm corner, is Santa Monica-based non-profit Voice for the Animals. The VIP gala unveiling of Tina and Jewel’s new home is set for tonight.