- Male Asian Elephant
- Born: 1985
- At L.A. Zoo since 1989
- In solitary confinement for 27 years at L.A. Zoo
Billy was caught in the wild and forcibly taken, as a part of a trade been the L.A. Zoo and the Malaysian Game Department, from his native home of Malaysia. Now, Billy lives on approximately one-quarter acre at the L.A. Zoo. Wild elephants can walk up to 100 miles in a day, and there are roughly 640 acres in one mile. With only one acre of land on which to roam, it is virtually impossible for Billy to get the daily exercise he needs to be both physically and psychologically healthy.
With no other elephants near him, Billy lives an unnatural, solitary life at the zoo. Male elephants are often kept separate from other elephants in zoos, but, in the wild, male elephants have been known to display social connections, reside in bachelor herds, frequent areas with female elephants, and, sometimes, move from family to family. In India, younger bulls even join with older bulls to crop raid.
For many years Billy has been displaying stereotypic behavior in the form of repetitive head bobbing that goes on for extended periods of time. Stereotypic behaviors are repetitive behaviors that are often seen in captive animals, particularly those given inadequate mental stimulation. What's more, stereotypic behavior is never seen in wild animals. Many experts consider stereotypic behavior to be an indicator of poor psychological welfare, which is likely caused by restriction of movement, size of enclosure, social isolation, or lack of complexity in the physical environment. Billy has experienced all of these factors at the L.A. Zoo. In fact, from his arrival at the L.A. Zoo in 1989 until 1994, Billy was routinely chained each night for approximately 12 to 14 hours at a time. It was during this period that a keeper reportedly physically abused Billy by using electric shock on him.
Experts state that stereotypic behavior can lead to foot problems, such as nail cracks, which Billy already has, and abscesses or abrasions to the sole of the foot. Foot-related problems are one of the leading causes of euthanasia in captive elephants in the United States.