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Ruby the African elephant dies at sanctuary

March 31, 2011 |  5:36 pm

Ruby the Elephant

Ruby the African elephant, who became a rallying symbol for animal activists during her time at the Los Angeles Zoo, has died at a sanctuary in Northern California.

The 50-year-old female pachyderm died Tuesday evening at the Performing Animal Welfare Society elephant sanctuary in San Andreas, where she had been living since May 2007, according to a sanctuary spokeswoman.

Ruby was one of the oldest African elephants in captivity.

"She was really just an intricate part of the African elephant group," sanctuary spokeswoman Kim Gardner told The Times.

She said Ruby's remains were being sent to UC Davis, where veterinarians would determine a cause of death.

During Ruby's time at the L.A. zoo, her habitat conditions became a rallying symbol for activists, who argued that the huge animals did not have enough space to roam.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also expressed concern about Ruby's wellbeing and held a news conference at the zoo to announce the decision to relocate the elephant. Among Ruby's benefactors was television game show host Bob Barker, who donated $300,000 for her upkeep.

Founded by former Hollywood animal trainer and author Pat Derby and partner Ed Stewart, PAWS offers 100 acres of rolling hills, as well as a lake and mud holes for it elephants.

RELATED:

L.A. zoo to retire Ruby to animal sanctuary

Ruby finds a good home at Northern California sanctuary

— Robert J. Lopez

Twitter: @LAJourno

Photo: Ruby at the PAWS sanctuary in May 2007. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

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