• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

LA Zoo to open controversial elephant exhibit

December 15, 2010 12:41:15 AM PST
The new elephant enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo, which was built despite controversy, is finished and opens to the public on 10 a.m. Thursday.Connie Morgan, president of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), said it's been a long road to get the Elephants of Asia habitat.

"We're very, very thrilled that they are with us, and we're excited to open this wonderful new habitat," she said.

The three elephants get a six-acre habitat with 3.8 acres for the elephants themselves.

The zoo's general manager said the exhibit is one of the country's largest of its kind.

"The elephants will be enjoying a wonderful waterfall, deep pools ... just all kinds of things that an elephant would love," Morgan said.

A lawsuit is still pending on the new elephant exhibit. Some argue that the elephants shouldn't been in a zoo, while others argued the habitat was a waste of taxpayer money.

The judge in the case has not issued any injunctions, so the opening is on schedule.

At a private party held Wednesday night, supporters said the exhibit will silence most critics.

"It's always a double-edged sword with the zoos because if you love animals you feel bad they're in captivity but the sense is they're safe and cared for, especially at this zoo," said musician Gavin Rossdale.