Billy the elephant has some celebrity supporters.

In honour of #WorldElephantDay, Cher and Lily Tomlin are joining forces and calling for the Los Angeles zoo to release Billy so he can be moved to sanctuary operated by the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

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“He is in pain both physically and psychologically. He spends 80% of his time rocking back and forth. This behaviour is called stereotypic behaviour and is widely known to be a sign of distress. It is never seen in wild elephants,” Cher, 73, told People magazine. “Billy is standing on hard-packed dirt in a small, sterile environment. In the wild, he would be walking hundreds of miles a day on soft earth. In the zoo, Billy can’t choose what he eats at a Sanctuary he will have choices.”

“He would be able to swim, dust himself as elephants like to do, eat whatever he wants from the lush vegetation at the sanctuary,” she added.

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Meanwhile, Tomlin says her dedication to Billy’s future comes from her belief in the “importance of caring for those younger and weaker.”

For more information about Billy, visit the Voice for the Animals Foundation website.

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