L.A. Zoo Hosts World Elephant Day Weekend

The Los Angeles Zoo presents World Elephant Day Weekend, two days of opportunities to explore and learn about elephants, especially the challenges they face in the wild, today, August 8 and tomorrow, August 9, 2015, 10am to 4pm. World Elephant Day (August 12) is an international effort celebrating Asian and African elephants and bringing attention to the urgent threat of their extinction.

The weekend spotlights the L.A. Zoo's state-of-the-art Elephants of Asia exhibit and offers chances to learn about its three elephant residents and how they're cared for, including tours of their barn and demonstrations of daily enrichment activities. Activities for children range from story time to a "medical clinic" where young guests' toy elephants are "examined" and issued a "certificate of health." A coloring and craft station invites children to express their commitment to help save elephants from extinction on cards for display at the exhibit's Elephant Circle, and a three dimensional chalk art piece depicting majestic elephants provides visitors a one-of-a-kind immersive photo opportunity. Also featured is a station spotlighting the Wildlife Conservation Society's 96 Elephants campaign and California Assembly Bill 96 to ban the sale of ivory in California.

With African elephants being killed at an unprecedented rate as demand for ivory continues unabated, African forest elephants could effectively be extinct over the next decade. California is the second largest hub for ivory sales in the United States, and AB 96 closes loopholes that prevent the effective enforcement of existing California law prohibiting the sale of ivory.

Elephants of Asia, which opened in 2010, focuses on the rich connection between elephants and the cultures of Thailand, India, China, and Cambodia and includes features dedicated to the health and welfare of elephants such as bathing pools, sandy hills, varied topography, enrichment opportunities, and a state-of-the-art barn that is capable of accommodating elephants of all ages. The exhibit familiarizes guests with the challenges Asian elephants face in the wild, including their shrinking natural habitat, and gives visitors the opportunity to directly contribute to conservation programs that support elephants in their native countries. Elephant conservation efforts have been made possible through the Zoo's partnership with the Cambodia Elephant Conservation Group, which works to preserve the Asian elephant population in Cambodia.

The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing 1.6 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered. Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; an Indian Rhino Encounter direct-contact opportunity; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the Winnick Family Children's Zoo; one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world; a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants; and much more. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife. The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children.

Admission to the Los Angeles Zoo is $20 for general admission (ages 13 to 61); $17 for seniors (ages 62+), and $15 for children (ages 2 to 12). No ticket is required for children under 2. Admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members is free.

The Los Angeles Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Free parking is available. For additional information, contact (323) 644-4200 or visit www.lazoo.org.

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