Nov 6, 2006
Kinship Circle Primary
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11/3/06 -- Ruby's Abbreviated Life In The L.A. Zoo
KINSHIP CIRCLE ACTION CAMPAIGN
SOURCE OF INFORMATION:
Save Elephants in Zoos
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Indicate if you are a LOS ANGELES CITIZEN
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
200 N. Spring St., Room 303
Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph: 213-978-0600; fax: 213-978-0750
Dear Mayor Villaraigosa,
Citizens around the world care deeply about the plight of captive elephants.
We applauded your decision to reclaim elephant Ruby from the Knoxville
(Tennessee) Zoo for a heartwarming reunion with Gita, her longtime companion
at the Los Angeles Zoo. We supported your 2005 request for an appraisal of
the "housing and health needs" of Los Angeles Zoo elephants and your
temporary hold on funding for an exhibit expansion.
But as you know, Ruby and Gita's reunion ended in June 2006 when keepers
found Gita, 48, on the ground. Swift medical attention couldn't save the
Asian elephant from the foot disorders and arthritis that plague captive
elephants. Ruby may suffer a similar fate, unless she is moved to a
I understand the Los Angeles Zoo Commission advocates Ruby's relocation to
PAWS sanctuary in Northern California. At an October 17, 2006 meeting,
commissioners concluded PAWS would provide proper lifelong care for Ruby. I
respectfully ask you to back their consensus by aiding Ruby's transfer to
PAWS, where she can live alongside fellow African elephants on 70 acres of
At the present time, Ruby lives an abbreviated life. Rather than roam 20 or
more miles everyday, she subsists in a cramped display, cut off from public
view and other elephants. Clearly, she is deprived of the space, exercise
and social enrichment to meet her physical and psychological needs. Female
elephants, in particular, form complex social bonds. In the secluded
confines of a zoo, an elephant's lifespan may decrease from 50-70 years to
40-45 years. An estimated 50% endure chronic arthritis and foot abscesses
from insufficient exercise and endless hours upon hardened surfaces.
You can stop Ruby from becoming a sad statistic by ensuring she is not moved
to another zoo. As you are aware, Ruby's trial run at the Knoxville Zoo in
2003 led to mental distress so severe, handlers were unable to integrate her
with other elephants.
I appreciate your past concern for elephants in zoos and urge you to take
immediate steps to remove Ruby, an African elephant, from the L.A. Zoo's new
Asian oriented display. Please let Ruby savor relative freedom in the open
space and organic terrain of PAWS sanctuary.
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