Saturday, December 29, 2012

More Toronto Zoo Elephants, Yet Again......

It remains a tough pill for some to swallow, but the Toronto Zoo is now working toward a spring target to get its three remaining elephants on a plane to PAWS.
Tension was apparent Tuesday morning at the meeting of the zoo’s board of management, its first since city council voted 32-8 last month to send the zoo’s aging female African elephants to the California sanctuary.
That vote reaffirmed a decision council made on the elephants last year. But by doing so, councillors once again rejected the advice of trained zoo staff.
Prior to the latest vote, the zoo’s CEO and senior veterinarians had urged city councillors to cancel PAWS (the Performing Animal Welfare Society) as the pachyderms’ destination. The zoo wanted them sent to an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facility in Florida, which isn’t built yet.
Several zoo staff attended Tuesday’s board meeting, dejection etched on their faces. There were heated exchanges during the meeting. Councillor Glenn DeBaeremaeker, who voted in favour of the move to PAWS, harshly admonished one senior zoo employee for “heckling’’ during the meeting.
There were also tense exchanges between board members DeBaeremaeker and Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby, who voted against the move to PAWS.
Last month’s council resolution ordered that Toka, Thika and Iringa go to PAWS on or before Dec. 31, 2012 — or as soon as possible. Zoo CEO John Tracogna said that date wasn’t feasible.
“We’re looking at a spring date. That seems to be the next target,’’ he told the meeting. Afterward, Tracogna reiterated that the zoo is abiding by council’s wish and working to get the transfer finished.
The meeting heard that a U.S-based company called Active Environments will be working with the zoo and PAWS to move the animals.
Julie Woodyer, a director with Zoocheck Canada, the animal rights group representing PAWS, said that as far as she knows, former “The Price is Right” game show host Bob Barker is still paying for the relocation.
Barker has pledged about $800,000 for the transfer, much of which will probably go toward renting a cargo plane. Woodyer said her group will soon make an announcement about a plane.

"Active Environments officers co-own a company called Ocean Adventure in the Philippines.  What are Ocean Adventure's connections to the Japanese Dolphin drive hunts?   If it is wrong to use bull hooks to control captive elephants, what are the ethics regarding this connection to marine mammal slaughter?"   Thought's anyone?

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