LA Zoo welcomes public to new elephant exhibit - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

LA Zoo welcomes public to new elephant exhibit

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Billy the elephant is seen during the Elephants of Asia opening celebration at the Los Angeles Zoo in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles) Billy the elephant is seen during the Elephants of Asia opening celebration at the Los Angeles Zoo in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — For a month, Billy, Tina and Jewel have been neighbors, getting acquainted at the new $42 million, 3.8-acre "Elephants of Asia" habitat at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Now they are going to get some company. After a night of music, dancing, food and visits from fans like Slash, Holly Robinson Peete, Pauley Perrette and others, the exhibit will open to the public on Thursday.

Legal challenges persist. Opponents say the habitat is too small and too expensive. A judge last week ruled the habitat could open, but also said a lawsuit, originally filed in 2007 by the late actor Robert Culp, could continue.

Billy has been in Los Angeles since 1989, Tina and Jewel arrived from San Diego in November.

There are 35,000 Asian elephants left in the wild.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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