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Los Angeles Zoo Announces Departure Of Ruby The African Elephant


LOS ANGELES, CA -- The Los Angeles Zoo announced today that they are sending Ruby, the African elephant, to a sanctuary.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was on hand to make sure he didn’t miss the photo opportunity and to pat himself on the back for the zoo’s decision, but was no where to be seen last year as this very same topic was up for vote in the City Council. Villaraigosa was also not on hand when Gita, the zoo’s Asian female, died at an early age last year. In fact, despite the Mayor’s numerous statements that “A zoo is not an appropriate place for an animal as large as an elephant,” he wasted no time praising the zoo’s $39 million proposed elephant exhibit that will be outdated even before construction is complete.

While some see the zoo’s announcement as the end of a long fight for the elephants at the L.A. Zoo, Last Chance for Animals, a national non-profit animal rights organization in Los Angeles, warns the public not to celebrate and to continue fighting.

“This is the darkest day for elephants in captivity. One elephant has been moved out, but at least 8 more will be moving in once the new exhibit is completed. This is not a success story; elephants should not be in captivity, period!” stated LCA President Chris DeRose. “The L.A. Zoo exhibit should be closed down permanently so no more elephants have to suffer and die there. LCA is committed to the rights of all elephants in captivity, not just the welfare of one elephant.”

Last Chance for Animals feels Ruby’s departure will set a dangerous precedent: zoos will view sanctuaries as a way to get their “surplus” and “problem” elephants off their hands while continuing to breed more elephants, instead of realizing that zoos are the problem -- the small spaces, the concrete floors and the unnatural social groupings are slowly driving the elephants insane while their feet and bodies deteriorate before our eyes.

“I want to make this clear; LCA wanted to see Ruby and Billy moved out of the zoo as much as anyone, maybe more (we’ve been fighting for this for almost 20 years), but the focus should remain to close the elephant exhibit once and for all. Today’s move is nothing more than clearing out old inventory to make room for the new,” stated DeRose.

Last Chance for Animals (LCA), a national animal rights organization based in Los Angeles, has been active for more than two decades. Founded and led by animal expert, author and actor, Chris DeRose, LCA fights for the rights of animals by conducting investigations that expose animal cruelty, launching public awareness campaigns, pushing animal friendly legislation and helping prosecute animal abusers. For more information, visit


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