The price was right for three former zoo elephants to join eight others at the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s (PAWS) ARK 2000 sanctuary near San Andreas, California.
Bob Barker, a lifelong animal rights activist, lobbied the Toronto Zoo to release the African elephants, named Iringa, Thika and Toka. Two years ago, the Toronto City Council agreed to send the animals to the California sanctuary.
Barker personally funded the nearly $1 million road trip for the elephants, which required special trailers and took about four days.
After months of delays, the former “Price is Right” host was at the sanctuary on Sunday night to welcome the elephants when they finally arrived.
“It was more than emotional for me, for all of us,” Barker said. “I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. It’s hard to believe they are finally here.”
PAWS co-founder, Ed Stewart said the elephants will need time to adjust to their new surroundings.
“Our job will be to give each elephant the best care and their own time and space in which to adjust,” he said.
Their new home sounds pretty amazing.
“The elephant habitats at ARK 2000 provide the elephants with acres of varied natural terrain to roam, lakes to bathe in, and state-of-the-art elephant barns equipped with heated stalls and therapeutic jacuzzis,” according to the PAWS website.
The sanctuary is also home to 26 tigers, 6 bears and 5 lions, all of whom had previously been in captivity.
Check out this video of the new elephants arriving!