BELOVED GITA GONE ZOO ELEPHANT DIES AS CARE DEBATED; NECROPSY ORDERED.Byline: Staff and Wire Services
A 48-year-old Asian elephant Asian elephant
Elaphus maximus. at the center of a debate about the Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. Zoo's living conditions living conditions npl → condiciones fpl de vida
living conditions npl → conditions fpl de vie
living conditions living for pachyderms died Saturday in her enclosure, zoo officials said.
Zoo officials said an examination will be conducted to determine what killed Gita, who was found sitting on her haunches when keepers went to her yard about 5 a.m. Saturday and who died at 9:40 a.m. despite attention from veterinarians Veterinarians and veterinary surgeons (vets) are medical professionals who operate exclusively on animals. Well-known and notable veterinarians include:
``I am concerned about the precise cause of death and have asked the city of Los Angeles
examination of a body after death. See also autopsy. of Gita to determine the cause of Gita's death,'' Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Antonio Ramon Villaraigosa (born Antonio (Tony) Ramon Villar, Jr. on January 23, 1953) is the mayor of Los Angeles, California. He is the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles since Cristobal Aguilar in 1872. said in a statement released by his staff.
A zoo favorite since her arrival from India in 1959, and one of a few survivors from the old Griffith Park Griffith Park is a large public park at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains. It is situated in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. The park covers 4,210 acres (17 km²) of land, making it one of the largest urban parks in North America. Zoo that predated the Los Angeles Zoo's opening in 1966, Gita had arthritis and a history of foot problems.
Surgery last year removed portions of a toe from her left front foot.
Zoo officials said sitting can damage an elephant's legs, releasing fatal toxins in a short amount of time.
Zoo critics have blamed Gita's foot problems on the size of her enclosure and the hard surface on which she walked. One critic said Saturday she was not surprised by Gita's death.
``Gita is emblematic of what is wrong with keeping animals in zoos today. Elephants need a far higher quality of life,'' Catherine Doyle of In Defense of Animals In Defense of Animals (IDA) is an animal welfare organisation based in San Rafael, California, USA. Its slogan is "working to protect the rights, welfare, and habitats of animals". told City News Service. ``I really believe this was preventable. I hold Los Angeles Zoo The Los Angeles Zoo founded in 1966, is a large zoo located in Los Angeles, California, USA.
The Zoo, located in Los Angeles' Griffith Park, is home to 1,200 animals from around the world. , the mayor and the city accountable for her death. They all failed her when they did not move her and all of those elephants to a sanctuary.''
Zoo director John Lewis told reporters that zoo staffers mourned her death.
``This is a loss on several levels,'' Lewis said. ``One for the animal, but particularly for the staff, because they have been working so hard on this. You forget sometimes, in spite of the individual problems, it's still an animal. She was an older animal, and we deal with it.''
Doyle's group and the Los Angeles Alliance for Animals announced plans for a demonstration today outside the zoo's main gate.
Asian elephants in the wild live up to about age 60, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park.
In 2003, Gita captured the public spotlight after a companion elephant known as Ruby was moved to the Knoxville (Tenn.) Zoo to be an ``auntie'' in the African elephant breeding program there.
But Ruby acted aggressively toward the other female elephants and never fit in. Animal-rights activists said Ruby was unhappy about being separated from Gita, her companion for 16 years in Los Angeles.
In 2004, then-Mayor James Hahn ordered city-owned Ruby to be returned to Los Angeles. A month after Ruby's return, an African elephant named Tara died of heart failure.
Since Ruby's return, Ruby and Gita have been living out of the public view in adjoining yards. A third elephant is on display.
Zoo critics say the Los Angeles enclosures are too small for animals that can roam for miles a day in the wild and that the hard-packed soil and concrete are brutal on the animals' feet.
A city report released last year said the elephants are well-tended but need far more space.
In April, the City Council voted to build a $39 million elephant exhibit, covering 3.5 acres and containing grasslands and waterfalls. Council members said they were convinced the elephants are crucial to the zoo experience and that they would thrive in the proposed Elephants of Surin exhibit.
Critics complained that the proposed exhibit would be both too expensive and too small, particularly if the zoo ever increases its display to six to eight elephants, as the general manager has suggested.
Set to be completed by mid-2008, the elephant exhibit will be funded, in part, with $17.7 million in voter-approved park bond money, $4.5 million donated by the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association and $2.3 million from the sale of private property donated to the zoo association.
The city will make up the rest of the cost with $14 million borrowed from the city's Municipal Investment Corp.
Gita's body was trucked Saturday to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, a state agency associated with the University of California, Davis The University of California, Davis, commonly known as UC Davis, is one of the ten campuses of the University of California, and was established as the University Farm in 1905. , zoo officials said.
Villaraigosa said the necropsy results will be released for public review and consideration.
(1 -- color) Gita, a 48-year-old Asian elephant that came to the L.A. Zoo from India in 1959, died Saturday in her enclosure.
(2) Gita, right, and Ruby, returned two years ago from a Tennessee zoo, go through their morning exercises.
Daily News file