Bob Barker is known for his love of animals and his continued generosity toward causes and organizations that help them. He has helped to fund a habitat for rescued chimps, spoken out against SeaWorld for marine mammals, and donated millions to Sea Shepherd for the ship now named after him. This year, he helped win a victory for the three elephants at Toronto Zoo.
In October, it was announced that Toka, Thika and Iringa would be relocated to a sanctuary. The Toronto City Council decided that the elephants would move to the Performing Animals Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary, with a vote of 31-4. Now, Barker has offered to pay for the elephants’ trip from Toronto to California. According to CBC News, he will be paying an “unspecified amount” to move the three African elephants to ARK 2000, a facility owned by PAWS that includes “a large terrain to roam, lakes to bathe in, and barns equipped with heated stalls and therapeutic Jacuzzis.”
Barker said, “I want them to have the most efficient and humane transition to their new home. I said this would not cost the city a penny and I want to assure them it won’t.” Organizations and animal activists campaigned to have the elephants moved due to the cold weather in Toronto and the inadequate concrete enclosures of the elephant exhibit, while the zoo’s elephant keepers argued that the animals are well-cared for and should stay. PAWS Director Pat Derby said on their website, “Both Zoocheck Canada and PAWS were prepared to raise the funds because Mr. Barker is constantly the source of funding for relocation and rescue of animals, and we were disturbed that his generosity had generated unpleasant comments from disgruntled zoo staff. We were trying to prevent further diatribes against a man who has devoted his life to helping animals and people.”
So far, the date of Toka, Thika and Iringa’s big move has not been announced.