Two elephants in France’s Lyon’s Tete d’Or zoo are sick with tuberculosis, at risk of being put-down, and as a result have been making national headlines since December. The pair, named Baby and Nepal, were determined dangerous to other animals and to the zoo’s visitors and authorities ordered them euthanized. However, when the circus director who previously owned them gained wind of the situation, he intervened with a petition to fight for their lives. Thousands of people lobbied for the animals, and gained them a temporary pardon until after Christmas. Now, famous French actress Brigitte Bardot has thrown her celebrity behind the cause. She is a known animal rights activist, and wrote a personal letter to France’s president, Francois Holland, during the first week of the new year requesting his help in the matter. When she did not receive a reply, Ms. Bardot released a statement threatening to move to Russia and obtain citizenship if the elephants are killed.
She follows in the footsteps of Actor Gerard Depardieu, who has made similar threats to move to Russia after tax disputes with the French government. He first threatened to move to Belgium, where his taxes would be lower. Then he obtained a Russian passport, and has gained citizenship via a personal decree from Russian President Vladmir Putin. Bardot marks the second recent case of iconic French celebrities are defecting from the nation to achieve personal goals. The famous personality has also been in the news for making offensive remarks about French Muslims in 2008, and has been convicted of inciting racial hatred.