“The Price Is Right” host Bob Barker, who turned 83 yesterday, a devout friend of the animals, is giving $300,000 to help an elephant from the Los Angeles Zoo to be housed in an animal sanctuary.
The pledge is said to match donations in support of sending Ruby, a 45-year-old African elephant, to a sanctuary in San Andreas in Northern California.
On the heels of the controversial June death of LA Zoo’s elephant Gita, where an investigation found that Gita’s keepers didn’t begin emergency procedures for more than eight hours after the elephant was first observed sitting with her back legs tucked under her, a general sign of distress, the pachyderm Ruby is also housed at the zoo, but animal rights advocates have been vocal over concerns about the zoo’s overall treatment of elephants. Another elephant, Tara, died in 2004.
Zoo spokesman Jason Jacobs told the AP that officials weren’t aware of any offer from Barker and that Ruby’s “ultimate destination is not a financial decision.”
Barker is an animal rights activist. He pleaded with the Los Angeles City Council in February to close the zoo’s elephant exhibit.
Los Angeles City Council approved a $39 million, 3.5-acre exhibit to house Ruby and a 21-year-old Asian male elephant named Billy. The animal rights activists say it is not enough space still, and the elephant exhibit still needs to go permanently.
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