Ruthie, Modi'in's favorite hyena, killed by passing car on Route 443

The hyena became a social media sensation after she was sighted rummaging through garbage all across the city in 2017.

 A striped hyena (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A striped hyena
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Ruthie the hyena, an icon of the central Israeli city of Modi'in, was tragically run over and killed over the weekend, Israel's Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) said.

The hyena became a social media sensation after she was sighted rummaging through garbage all across the city in 2017.

What ensued what a legal battle that split locals down the middle

Some were concerned with the safety of having a hyena roam in the city at night, while others maintained that Ruthie does not pose a threat to humans.

In the end, a local court ruled to have her trapped and released in an uninhabited area. However, Ruthie shocked everyone when she kept returning to the Modi'in area, where she was born, even when relocated over 30 km. away.

 View of Modi’in, central Israel (credit: Wikimedia Commons) View of Modi’in, central Israel (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Savvy scavenger

The savvy scavenger quickly turned popular with the Modi'in public for her uncompromising will to return back home. She was then officially given the name 'Ruthie' by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), which also created a Facebook page in her name.

Through the Facebook account run by INPA activist Avital Yogev, the local residents learned about Ruthie and the behavioral differences between her striped species to the more-commonly-known spotted hyena.

Yogev mourned the loss of Ruthie and called for safe ecological crossings for wildlife to be established across Israel to prevent the next death.

"Ruthie was born in the city, knew how to cross roads and eat from garbage cans," Yogev said. "Unfortunately, despite countless requests, the issue of safe ecological crossings has not yet been resolved."

"Route 443, where Ruthie was killed, was recognized many years ago as a danger for wildlife, with a disproportionate amount of animals killed in the past several years."

"We call on the Environmental Protection Ministry and the Modi'in Municipality...to ensure safe passage for wildlife in and around the city," Yogev said.