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Elephants Have Lost a Great Friend

Written by PETA | March 25, 2010

With the passing this week of Robert Culp, captive animals—and the people who care about them—have lost a true advocate and friend.


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Robert Culp


Although he appeared in dozens of films and television programs, Culp was best known to baby boomers for his work on the TV series I Spy and to the following generation for The Greatest American Hero. His fans may not have known that, off screen, Culp was a genuine hero for captive animals. In 2007, he filed a lawsuit to block construction of a new elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo, citing allegations that the zoo did not provide elephants sufficient veterinary care, confined them in an inadequate space, and used bullhooks and electric shocks on them. Last year, when a judge ruled against him, Culp filed an appeal.

Taken from their families in the wild, elephants in zoos suffer a life of chronic physical ailments, social deprivation, emotional starvation, and premature death. Lack of exercise and long hours standing on hard surfaces are major contributors to foot infections and arthritis, the leading causes of death among captive elephants. Two elephants who died at the Los Angeles Zoo in recent years, Tara and Gita, suffered from arthritis-related illnesses.

We can each pay tribute to this kind and talented man by carrying forward his efforts to help elephants in zoos.

Written by Jeff Mackey

Commenting is closed.
  • blakmira says:

    God bless you and keep you Robert Culp. As for Mel he just feels compelled to remind us that those who care about animals couldn’t possibly also care about people too. And that racism in today’s society is so much more important than speciesism. After all humans are vastly superior and more important in every way right? Well ever since it became illegal to own a human as a slave the only ones being held as slaves in our socalled civilized society are the animals. And that is a sin and should be a crime as well.

  • Susan T says:

    Mel this is PETA remember? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals! I’m sure that Robert Culp was a fine man and gave of himself in many humanitarian aspects but understand why we’re focusing on him here. He was a great supporter of ending elephants being kept in zoos.

  • mel says:

    Um… Caroline this is my point you don’t know the man did a whole lot more than just try and help the animals. I respect him for more than just that. Grow up.

  • Caroline Kropka says:

    Yo Mel if there was the treatment of captive elephants VS racial barrier of humans judging by which is worse Elephants would win by a freakin landslide.

  • mel says:

    Um… just how many of you know Robert Culp besides this case? Additionally Culp is known for being the one who got Cosby a lead role in “I Spy” breaking the racial barrier. He did more than help elephants.

  • sabita patwardhan says:

    Did not know of this. You’re a huge loss Mr. Culp.

  • Aneliese says:

    Sad news. Rest in peace Robert Culp.