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In Memoriam

RUBY - Former LA Zoo elephant passed away Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at PAWS Sanctuary

elephants memorial Ruby at PAWSRuby at PAWS sanctuary in Northern CaliforniaWith sadness in our hearts, we want to let you know that "Ruby," the 50-year-old former Los Angeles Zoo African elephant, died on Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at 6 pm.

Ruby spent 20 years at the L.A. Zoo before being transferred to the Performing Animals Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in Northern California on May 15, 2007. Ruby's move to PAWS finally happened after immense pressure from animal activists and concerned citizens of Los Angeles.  A necropsy is being performed at UC Davis and the results are pending. The loss of Ruby is a direct result of captivity and its traumatizing effect on elephants.

We must never give up fighting for the other elephants in captivity and put a stop to the senseless capture and export of wild elephants and keep elephants in the wild.

Thank you for making it possible for Ruby to have four wonderful, happy years at the end of her life- living at PAWS.

Read more about Ruby

GITA - passed away June 10, 2006

elephants memorial gita 1958 2006On June 10, 2006, Gita, an Asian elephant held at the LA Zoo in inadequate and debilitating quarters for 47 years, passed away. Gita’s medical history is riddled with documentation of the harmful effects of a life in captivity. Gita is at peace, finally, but tragic that this was the only way she could get out of the zoo.

After waiting for months for the release of Gita’s necropsy it was finally released August 23rd, 2006. LCA is appalled at the contents of this report and demand Mayor Villaraigosa closed down the L.A. Elephant Exhibit permanently and release the two remaining elephants to a sanctuary. "This necropsy does not excuse the zoo of any fault in Gita's death. This necropsy is proof that Gita died because of life in captivity at the L.A. Zoo," states LCA President Chris DeRose.

When Gita died in June, there were many questions regarding the circumstances behind her death. The suspicions were confirmed a few weeks later when zoo officials admitted that there was an 8 hour time delay before Gita received medical attention the day she went down. The necropsy reports, among many health problems, that the time delay was not 8 hours, but 12 - 17 hours before anyone took action to help her.

If Gita had been cared for during these crucial hours, she may have survived -- or at least been spared the unimaginable suffering she endured in the last hours of her life.


elephants memorial gita 001Gita in her enclosure at the LA Zoo

The LA Zoo has been lying about the status of Gita's health for years. Just this year, prior to her death, Zoo director John Lewis has stated:

  • “She’s not suffering.”
  • “...none [of Gita's health problems] was causing great alarm.”
  • “…her t problems were healed.”

This in stark contrast to what was actually found during the necropsy. Read a copy of the necropsy.

Please help save the remaining three elephants, Jewel, Tina and Billy, from spending the remainder of their life in captivity at the Los Angeles Zoo. Tell the Mayor to release them to sanctuary and permanently close the elephant exhibit.

Elephant Deaths at the LA Zoo

The elephants at the L.A. Zoo are dying from captivity related diseases; since 1975, thirteen elephants have died at the L.A. Zoo, there are also six elephants with unknown histories and incomplete records. 

In addition to Gita’s death in 2006 and Ruby in 2011, the next most recent elephant death was in December 2004, when Tara was found lying on her side. She passed away shortly afterwards at the young age of 39. Her necropsy shows cause of death as acute heart failure.

The average age of death for L.A. Zoo elephants since 1975 is 22 years. By comparison, a wild elephant’s natural lifespan can be over 70 years.


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