The Fairbanks North Star Borough wants to set up a special area for companies to develop and test drone aircraft for the military. The project would capitalize on recent year’s state laws aimed at helping woo the defense industry and spur economic development.Download Audio
- Activists plead Ruby’s case to mayor
Activists also appealed to zoo commissioners, who serve in an advisory capacity and have endorsed the PAWS move. “You and the mayor have a duty to care for this zoo … you have a duty to care for the elephants,” Madeline Bernstein, president of the SPCA-LA, the city’s oldest animal welfare organization, told the commission. “Don’t be the people who almost moved Ruby to a better place, because not doing so condemns her to a worse place.” The zoo now houses two pachyderms: Ruby, an African elephant who has lived alone and out of the public eye for two years; and Billy, a 22-year-old Asian bull elephant. It is building a $39 million elephant exhibit due to open in 2009. In her letter to the mayor, Bernstein said the L.A. Zoo does not heed national zoo guidelines that call for the social behemoths to live in groups of no less than three. In addition, she said private funds have been raised to send the aging Ruby to a spacious sanctuary. Free Ruby. That was the refrain Tuesday of animal welfare activists who called upon Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to retire the city’s 46-year-old elephant to a sanctuary. In two letters to the mayor, humane groups and former zoo professionals demanded Ruby be sent from “solitary confinement” at the Los Angeles Zoo to the 150-acre PAWS sanctuary in Northern California. Zoo officials are weighing whether to send Ruby to the PAWS refuge or to another zoo. “The current treatment of Ruby could be construed as cruel,” she writes in the letter. In another letter, former zoo professionals from around the world asked the city to retire its oldest elephant. “She was put in solitary confinement at the Los Angeles Zoo,” said Les Schobert, the zoo’s former curator, who had signed the letter. “In short, she’s had a horrible life … everyone agrees that she must go.” The Mayor’s Office declined to comment. In December, zoo General Manager John Lewis and two curators drove to PAWS to investigate the sanctuary. Zoo officials say that, despite her confinement away from other elephants, Ruby is fine. “She’s not with other elephants, but she has a good relationship with her keepers,” said zoo spokesman Jason Jacobs. “She’s in good health. She’s in her 40s, she’s in good shape.” firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 713-3730160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!