Free Billy NOW!

Thousands of Elephants around the world are subjected to the cruelty of capture, captivity, and captive breeding. Billy, a 32-year-old Asian Elephant from the Los Angeles Zoo, is one of many living in isolation and despair.


Elephant Guardians of Los Angeles and The Kerulos Center have joined forces in the Free Billy NOW! campaign to liberate Billy and bring him to sanctuary. The campaign will support his release and build the All Bull Elephant Sanctuary (ABES) where he can re-build life and love among fellow Elephants and humans who are in service to his care.

Who is Billy?

Taken from his mother as an infant, Billy has lived alone in the zoo since 1989, in an enclosure. (See video at right. Uncut version here). He is forced to yield sperm for the breeding program. Billy’s trauma is reflected in his constant swaying, a desperate effort to cope with despair. Billy is the “real life” inspiration for the character of the same name in G.A. Bradshaw’s The Elephant Letters.


Learn More about Billy

Billy is a male Asian Elephant who has been held by the Los Angeles Zoo since 1989. He was born in Malaysia to a wild Elephant family and was acquired by the zoo at the age of four. In the wild, a four-year-old male Elephant baby would still be nursing and completely dependent on his mother and other female relatives of  his family unit.


He would remain with his family until between the ages of 11 to 14, when he would venture out to join a nearby all-bull group where he would learn from his elders how to be an adult male Elephant. As an adult male Elephant in the wild, Billy would have socialized within his all-male group, forming life long bonds of friendship, mentoring young bulls, and interacting with female herds for social and procreation purposes.


Unfortunately, this rich, complex social life was completely denied to Billy. Not only was he taken from his mother and family, which for human or Elephant is profoundly traumatic and devastating, but Billy currently lives in isolation. As a captive-held Elephant in a zoo, Billy is condemned to solitary confinement, restricted to a space far too small to meet the needs of an adult bull Elephant.

What Can I Do?


Here’s how you can support the campaign to free Billy and give him sanctuary:



History of the Free Billy NOW! Campaign



Read the letter by executive director Gay Bradshaw in support of Billy’s release to sanctuary.



Members of the Elephant Guardians of Los Angeles.


Kiersten Cluster and Marcy Winograd, co-founders of Elephant Guardians of Los Angeles, catalyzed the effort that resulted in the passing of a resolution by the Democratic Party of Los Angeles County to release Billy to sanctuary. The resolution urges the city of Los Angeles to close the Elephant exhibit and captive breeding program at the Los Angeles Zoo, and release the three Elephants, Billy, Tina and Jewel, to sanctuary. A member of the Los Angeles City Council is drafting a motion articulating these goals.