Sky Island SPOTlight: Ruby, Arizona

Ruby Arizona was once a mining town started in the 1870s. It was abandoned in the 1940s and it is now a ghost town. Located in Santa Cruz, County Arizona it is nestled in the Pajarito Mountians west of Nogales, Ruby Arizona really is a gem of the region. While it is one of the best-preserved mining ghost towns, it is not devoid of life.  The mines are now home to Mexican free-tailed bats, and the surrounding land is rich with native wildlife.

Our Work:

Ruby is home to some of our longest running wildlife cameras that have documented amazing diversity over the years. The area of Ruby is managed by Pat and Howard Frederick, long time supporters and friends of Sky Island Alliance and they have allowed SIA to access the land for a multitude of projects. Currently our work at Ruby focuses on using wildlife cameras. David Bygott & Jeannette Hanby, fantastic volunteers, have operated wildlife cameras in Ruby for a little over 10 years!

The Data:

During this time these cameras have captured 8922 images with life in them. With 3541 separate wildlife detections (number of photos of that species that are more than 30 minutes apart). Having cameras out in one location for a long period over time allows us to document the species in this area. As well as pick up trends over time.

Below is a list of species and the number of unique detections that have been seen at Ruby using the wildlife cameras:

How to Visit:

Ruby is a great place to hike, camp, and even fish! A permit is needed to enter the site and there is a modest entrance fee to maintain the historic site. To learn more about the history of the Ruby and to apply for the permit go to their website: