STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ A fired zoo attendant has refused to leave the elephant quarters and started a hunger strike to protest the animals' living conditions, news reports said.

''I will not leave (the elephants) Nike and Shiva voluntarily. The police will have to carry me away,'' Dan Kohl told the national news agency TT on Thursday.

Kohl demanded that Justice Minister Gun Hellvik inspect the Skansen zoo's 100-square-yard elephant house and the 475-square-yard paved elephant run, TT said. She declined.

The zoo dismissed Kohl in a dispute involving his complaints about conditions. Zoo authorities agree the area is too small but say they lack funds for an alternate site. They want to sell the two elephants. Kohl wants to keep them.

''If someone wanted to separate you from your kids, how would you react?,'' he said. Plans to move Nike and Shiva to a large animal park south of Stockholm were dropped after one of the park's elephants accidentally squeezed a keeper to death.