First, read the article. It sums it up better than I could.
The only reason I am posting about this is because I knew where three or four of these long-lost statues were for years, although I never knew they were lost. One of these elephants is the famous Euclid Avenue elephant - it was in the front yard of a house on Euclid in Ontario for years. Everybody local knew about the Euclid Elephant.
When I managed a trailer dealership out in Fontana, our first location was in an old house on a huge lot. Across the street was an empty lot being used to store old circus junk. There were two (or maybe three, I can't recall) weathered concrete lions on the lot. I always thought they were pretty neat, but never knew they were "lost" and wanted by the L.A. Zoo. Years later, I read about how they had been searched for and finally located, scattered all over California. I have to admit, if I had the chance to pick up a life-sized concrete animal for cheap, I'd put one in my yard, too.