Farewell Gita

The sad word’s out that Gita, the L.A. Zoo’s 48-year-old elephant, died this morning. During those cherished opportunities when I worked there that I was able to get this close…

…to the 9,000-pound pachyderm she never failed to be the gentlest and most beautifully dispositioned of giants, which stands in testament to the ceaseless love, care and respect she received throughout her life by zoo personnel.

Her loss is not only a huge physical one for the zoo, but also an historic one as well. Gita came into the care of the zoo back in 1959 before its present location existed. In fact, when the new zoo opened in the mid-1960s, Gita was walked up Crystal Springs Drive through Griffith Park from the old zoo to her new home.

Anti-zoo activists will no doubt have a field day with her demise and use it to trumpet the need to halt construction of the new elephant exhibit and move the remaining elephants, Ruby and Billy, to so-called “sanctuaries.” Ironically they’ll use Gita self-servingly to shamelessly smear the zoo as selfish and lacking concern for animal welfare. In the meantime, I know that no one at the zoo, be they volunteer or staff or patron will be taking this heartbreak very well.

Gita was a remarkable animal, beloved by all who had the honor and privilege to know her.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."