The time has almost arrived for three adult elephants from the Toronto Zoo to leave behind their urban digs and retire to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in sunny San Andreas.
We’ve been following this story for a long time now, so it’s very encouraging to hear things moving forward. For those needing a refresher, here’s a small synopsis from earlier:
Under pressure from Bob Barker, Zoocheck Canada, and PETA, the Toronto Zoo had agreed to send the elephants elsewhere, but their idea of a new home was a new zoo. According to PETA, the Toronto City Council sided with activists that the elephants should go to a sanctuary instead. That’s when Barker stepped in again and agreed to pay for their transport.
As you can imagine, transporting three elephants across North America is not only complicated, but expensive. Barker is personally fronting $850K for the trip. The original plan was to hire a Russian cargo jet – but that apparently didn’t work out, and now the Royal Canadian Air Force is getting involved with their massive C-17 military transport aircraft.
“Airlifting the elephants would take about 20 hours, so within a day, the elephants could be at their new home,” Barb Cartwright, CEO of Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, told the Toronto Sun.
According to the Sun, a final decision by Defence Minister Peter MacKay “is imminent,” and once the green light is given, Operation Dumbo Drop (as it’s being called) will quickly move forward.
“The animals will be transported in giant crates and zookeepers are already training the elephants so they’re familiar with the crates when it’s time for lift-off,” the site reports.
Said Barker about Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary, their soon-to-be new home, “They have a mud hole; elephants love to play in the mud. They have a pool; some of them stay underwater practically the whole summer. And there are elephants for them to socialize with. Elephants come in that have been mistreated and been lonely and depressed, and they just blossom. It’s wonderful to behold.”