Juliette West has loved animals her entire life. So when she learned about an effort to move an elephant from the Los Angeles Zoo to a sanctuary, she knew it was time for her to go from just being an animal lover to being an animal activist.
“In my perfect world there would be no elephants in the zoos and there would only be animals in the zoo that are able to live healthily,” Juliette, 18, of Los Angeles, tells Live Life and Win!.
Attaining that world is her mission. She speaks at schools and runs a website, JulietteSpeaks.org, focusing much of her activism on the plight of elephants in zoos and circuses.
“An elephant is a magnificent animal that is very intelligent, has very developed emotions, is huge and beautiful,” she says. “And I think with humans, they’re pretty misunderstood.”
Juliette appeared in the 2012 documentary “How I Became an Elephant” that followed her on a trip to Thailand where she witnessed the abuse of elephants in captivity. And most recently she’s been raising awareness about the ivory trade, in which elephants are killed for their valuable tusks.
“I won’t quit because I know that more that I try, the more people will learn about this and the more people will feel compassionate,” she says. “I want people to understand that animals aren’t put on this Earth for our entertainment or to work for us. We need to leave them alone and leave them to their natural habitats.”