Los Angeles, CA

Free Billy Rally

360 Magazine

Free Billy Rally at the Los Angeles Zoo draws support from Activists, Musicians, Celebrities, and a BAFTA-Winning Filmmaker Demand to release the aging wild-captured elephant is growing.

A public rally will take place in the Los Angeles Zoo parking lot on Saturday, August 21 to add pressure to the City of Los Angeles as part of a years-long campaign to release Billy, the LA Zoo’s sole male elephant, to a wildlife sanctuary. A coalition of supporters are pushing to have the 36-year-old bull elephant flown to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) to join Kaavan, another bull elephant recently released from the Islamabad Zoo.

An amazing new version of the Diane Warren song, “Free” will be played at the event and will also be featured in the documentary. “Free” has music and lyrics by Diane Warren and was originally written for Disney’s film The One and Only Ivan. The new version of the song features singer Yolanda Adams with the Ebenezer Baptist Church Choir and percussion and drums by Mick Fleetwood (Fleewood Mac).

This extraordinary new version of “Free” was executive produced by Mick Fleetwood, Mickey Shapiro and 12-time Oscar nominated, Grammy, Emmy and two-time Golden Globe award-winning songwriter Diane Warren

Diane’s songs have been featured in more than 100 films and been recorded by top artists including Lady Gaga, Common, Andra Day, Jennifer Hudson, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Reba McEntire, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Enrique Iglesias, Aerosmith, Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige and Zendaya, among many others.

WHAT: Free Billy The Elephant Rally


Parking Lot 5333 Zoo Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027

WHEN: Saturday, August 21, 2021 10 A.M. to Noon


The filmmakers include Marshall Corwin (Fresh Start Media) and cameraman Peter von Puttkamer. This independently produced film began principal photography last month with Joyce Poole, a world-renowned elephant expert with a Ph.D. in elephant behavior from Cambridge University. She has studied the social behavior and communication of elephants for over 40 years, dedicating her life to their conservation and welfare.


Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa admitted that Billy the zoo elephant divided the city into two very strong centers of influence. One believes, like he does, that elephants belong in sanctuaries and not zoos. The other camp supports the LA zoo and cherishes having the elephants in the zoo. David Casselman sued the LA ZOO (owned by the City of Los Angeles), along with the late actor Robert Culp, activist Aaron Leider. Celebrity supporters Cher, Bill Maher, Bob Barker, Halle Berry and Lily Tomlin have all worked to liberate this wild-captured elephant.


This public rally is being produced by Kiersten Cluster and her group Elephant Guardians of Los Angeles, and will be filmed as part of a documentary film entitled Free Billy. The film crew includes the BAFTA-winning director Marshall Corwin from Fresh Start Media in London.


Inspired by the Tomlin’s Ernestine character on her series Laugh In, this life-sized baby elephant sculpture, entitled “Is Anybody Listening” was designed by Lily Tomlin and artist Erin Boyle for the art show Elephant Parade in Dana Point in 2013. The Elephant Parade curator, Dana Yarger has loaned Tomlin’s engaging art piece to attend the Free Billy rally for zoo visitors to enjoy. “Now, more than ever, it is essential for the community to connect through art”, says Yarger. In 2009, about the 2009 Free Billy campaign, actress Lily Tomlin said: “I and many others in the community have watched the LA city council rely on, and be misled by, the zoo’s representation about the health and welfare of wild animals in their care.”


As noted above, Kaavan was recently re-homed after being called the ‘world’s loneliest elephant’. He was freed from horrible conditions in a Pakistan zoo and shipped to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary. This rescue will also be included in the documentary to demonstrate how a zoo elephant can live happily ever after when s/he is returned to a wild environment. Kaavan was gifted by the government of Sri Lanka to Pakistan in 1985. In 2021, Kaavan was freed to live in a jungle sanctuary.

For additional information visit this Elephant Guardians.

Zoo illustration by Maria Soloman for 360 Magazine, toys for totsMaria Soloman

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