Elephants Going To PAWS At Last, Hope they have a Happy Christmas, best of luck to them all xxxx
After a year of political wrangling and opposition from Toronto Zoo staff, city council has reaffirmed its decision to send the zoo’s three ageing elephants to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in California.
Zoo management, who had opposed the move, indicated after the 32-8 vote that they will abide by council’s edict.
“I think it’s disappointing but we also have to accept the decision of council and move on,” said John Tracogna, the zoo’s chief executive officer.
Council has had the benefit of receiving a lot of information over the past year. It still thinks the sanctuary is the best place, and zoo management is now prepared to accept that, Tracogna said.
“The public debate on this issue has occurred, and so we’ve got the direction and we’ll move on.”
Zoo staff vehemently disagreed with council’s decision in October 2011, in part because of PAWS’s lack of accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and then because of concerns about disease at the sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif. Staff hoped to send the elephants to a new, accredited sanctuary under construction in Florida instead.
“There was concern around tuberculosis at the facility,” Tracogna said. “But council’s heard all this and made their decision so we have to respect that.
“We’ve had a public debate. The information has come out fully. Council has made a decision.”
He noted that there are logistical hurdles to overcome, and stressed it’s up to PAWS to come up with an acceptable plan to fly the elephants westward.
“A good part of it is having a sound transportation plan that is going to move the elephants safely,” Tracogna said, adding he believes retired game show host and animal advocate Bob Barker, who had offered to pick up transportation costs, is still willing to do so.
“Basically we need a transportation plan from PAWS that’s going to be safe and meet all the requirements to fly three elephants all that distance. Along with that, we need the proper permits and the proper crate training.”
Tracogna couldn’t give a timetable to move the elephants, but councillors who pushed for the move want to see it happen as soon as possible.
“We just want to do what’s best for our elephants, and that’s what we did here today,” said Councillor Michelle Berardinetti, who has fought hard for the move.
“We did that a year ago, but we saw that they dragged their feet. They found every reason to drag their feet. You saw a sound decision by council once again. Sending them to PAWS is the best place.”
Not so, said Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby, who fought the move.
“They’re sending them to a facility that’s got TB, active TB. Why would you do that?” she said.
“I can’t understand what goes through some of these people’s minds. They are our elephants; one was born here. How could you do that to them? But council rules supreme, even though I certainly can’t agree with it.”
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For Yourself Or To Give As A Gift
Adopting a PAWS animal helps us provide nutritious food, veterinarian care and an enriching habitat for your animal — and you’ll have the satisfaction that comes from knowing you’re making a difference in the life of a PAWS animal.
Adoptive parents receive:
- Biography of their adopted animal
- Certificate of adoption and a color photograph
- A guest pass to one regular PAWS ARK 2000 open house (special events are not included)
- Periodic updates about the adopted animal
- Periodic mailings and invitations to special events
- PAWS online E-NEWS (Adoptive parent’s email address must be provided. Recipient may opt out at any time and no email address will ever be sold or given away.)
- Opportunities to take direct action to help captive wildlife