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Bob Barker and Giorgio Mammoliti face off in the Toronto Zoo elephant saga

(Image: John Vetterli)

The Price Is Right icon Bob Barker is riled up (but not this riled up, thank goodness) that Toronto Zoo management is delaying sending its remaining three elephants to his sanctuary of choice. The animal lover is threatening to withdraw his offer to pay for the elephants’ $800,000 flight to California (via private aircraft, no less) unless there’s an “ironclad guarantee” that they’ll make it to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary, near Sacramento. Problem is, talks between Toronto Zoo chief executive John Tracogna and PAWS director Ed Stewart have gone so badly that they now only speak to each other via lawyers, and zoo staff have waged a campaign against PAWS, claiming elephants there have tuberculosis. Then there’s Giorgio Mammoliti, the former chair of Toronto Zoo’s board, who has tried to stop the deal since the zoo allegedly lost its accreditation over the plan to send the elephants to PAWS, which doesn’t have the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ stamp of approval. Trying to salvage the deal, Councillor Michelle Berardinetti, who orchestrated the vote last October when council decided to move the elephants, has challenged Mammoliti and Tracogna to go to PAWS with her next week to check it out—but we doubt Barker would cover the airfare for that trip. [Toronto Star]

  • Ellespot

    these elephants are not something that can be bought and sold with activists bribes. PAWS deceived the city and the zoo by withholding information about treating elephants for Tuberculosis at the time the decision was being made to send them to PAWS. The sanctuary/hospice should be apologizing and explaining themselves and councillors involved in this deception should be made accountable to the people of this city for participating in this lie to accommodate their personal alliances to anti zoo organizations. There is concrete evidence of this deception a fact many Torontonians dont know. they also dont know (public zoo board minute records) that the sanctuary has refused for months to send the required medical records in accordance to their agreement with the zoo. WHY? Because they will indicate the whole truth about TB at PAWS. the city laid our very specific guidelines and criteria when they were choosing a future home for these elephants and at the top of the list was no facility with tuberculosis would be considered which ruled out the Tennessee Sanctuary, it should have ruled out PAWS as well. the National Elephant Centre is a beautiful faclity being built now and ready for our girls late fall this year, it was time and money (no free ride) that ruled them out not propaganda about bullhooks and unprotected contact. At the same time the decision was being made at city hall last fall about PAWS the AZA announced they would be ending these practises in all of their facilities by 2014, The NEC is an AZA facility. It is their breeding agenda that animal rights activists oppose. look it up on the internet and you can see that it will offer the same spacious roaming and beautiful warm climate PAWS can offer, the girls will not be bred and live with protected contact no bullhooks and with family groups young and old. what in the hell is so wrong with that?

  • Robert81

    Listen to PAWS not unknowns on the internet. From Pat Derbys blog:

    Correcting Misinformation About PAWS

    PAWS is not a zoo, we are a Sanctuary; we provide a dignified peaceful refuge to injured, abused, unwanted and retired animals. Zoos, on the other hand, seek to form collections of healthy, virile specimens to exhibit and breed in displays that are often inadequate. Fortunately, some zoos are changing their ways.

    When it comes to our elephants, our medical issues arrive with the elephants. The same cannot be said for many zoos and circuses which often create foot problems, arthritis and skin diseases in elephants due to lack of space, poor facilities and unnatural substrates. PAWS inherits all of those problems when those animals are retired to PAWS. Virtually every elephant that comes to PAWS has a history of physical and/or psychological illness, often untreatable. We are the last alternative to the painful and lonely death of an animal who may have suffered most of its life.

    With the City of Toronto’s decision to donate the Toronto Zoo elephants to PAWS, the question of TB at PAWS has become the focus of certain zoo personnel and other misguided individuals who are opposed to sending the Toronto Zoo elephants to PAWS in the uninformed belief that their presence at PAWS endangers their welfare.

    Most recently, some people who purport to be associated with the Toronto Zoo, as well as a veterinarian, Dr. Rapley, have conducted what can only be described as a “witch hunt” directed at PAWS by their urging the media and local agencies that regulate PAWS, to “investigate” PAWS based upon false and misleading statements. They have conducted a never-ending, misinformed, one-sided Facebook war, pursuing what, in our opinion, is a highly unethical and unprofessional tactic under the guise of “due diligence.”

    To eliminate the continued spread of this misinformation, I have summarized below the current status of TB at PAWS:

    Every elephant at PAWS has tested consistently negative for trunk wash culture for TB. None have ever culture tested positive.

    There are two relatively new blood tests, the STAT/PAK and the MAPIA, which are not approved or used in Canada, but are required by USDA in the United States. They indicate if the elephant has ever been exposed to TB, and, if an elephant is reactive to either test, the USDA recommends more frequent trunk wash testing for that elephant.

    Because PAWS accepts elephants, like Nicholas and Gypsy, from facilities known to have active TB, we always quarantine those elephants for at least one year, and trunk wash test several times. Nicholas and Gypsy were kept at PAWS Galt facility, the only elephants on that property, for a year and a half before coming to ARK 2000. Prince is currently in an isolated quarantine area at ARK 2000, and so was Sabu after his arrival.

    All of our African elephants, with which the Toronto elephants will be housed, have been non-reactive to the blood tests, and we always keep separate cleaning equipment, feed buckets and supplies for each elephant barn. The African habitat and barn is completely separate from all other elephants and barns.

    Nicholas, who lives in a separate barn and habitat on Bull Mountain is non-reactive to the blood tests. Prince, who is in quarantine in a separate barn and habitat has tested reactive to one of the blood tests. We trunk wash test him frequently and he is consistently negative on trunk wash culture.

    Among the Asians, Wanda is non-reactive to the blood tests, but Annie and Gypsy are reactive; all are trunk wash culture negative.

    TB is an enigma among elephants, and the professionals continue to gather information.

    St. Louis Zoo has been treating an elephant, Donna, for a year for active TB. They have stated that they have no idea how she became infected. “We assume elephants get TB like any other animal,” said the zoo’s director of animal health, Dr. Randy Junge. “An animal or human who has TB blows it out and another animal can pick it up. It takes prolonged contact. But we have a closed herd with no animals coming or going.”

    It was reported that Donna would remain with the zoo’s other elephants who would be tested frequently for TB. Junge said there is no point separating Donna from the herd now. “She’s been with them all along so they’ve all been exposed to what she’s been exposed to,” said Junge. “Because they are social animals, putting her in isolation would be inappropriate. We want her to remain comfortable and for herd life to go on.”

    In 2000 another elephant, Carolyn, 32, died at St. Louis Zoo. Cause of death was listed as TB.

    In 2010, the Dickerson Park Zoo in Missouri began treating C.C., the zoo’s eldest elephant, and the fifth oldest elephant living in AZA-accredited zoos. According to news reports, the zoo’s veterinarian, Dr. Erica Wilson stated, “At this time, C.C. shows no symptoms of an active illness, only that at some point in her lifetime she has been exposed to this bacterium.”

    Dr. Wilson went on to say, “C.C. and the other elephants are beloved animals for everyone working on the zoo’s staff and throughout the community as a whole. We treat animals for a variety of conditions all the time. And, we go to great lengths to ensure the best quality care for our animals every day.”

    San Francisco Zoo received an elephant, Calle, from LA Zoo who trunk washed positive and was treated for the disease. Calle was originally a Have Trunk Will Travel elephant who gave rides to the public for several years before she was traded to LA Zoo.

    TB is prevalent in circuses and some zoos. It is treatable and certainly is not the cause of the majority of elephant deaths in captivity. Rather, most elephants in captivity die from foot diseases and/or arthritis.

    It is for this reason that Iringa’s foot problem continues to be the major cause of concern, given she is more likely to die from this condition rather than from anything at PAWS.

    And, it is for this reason that the furtive attempts of some to hide Iringa’s foot problems, while postulating a theory of her death from TB at PAWS, is a shocking reminder of the lack of ethics which prevails among some. Indeed, the Zoo will not allow our veterinarian to film the treatment of Iringa’s foot, although we will inherit this problem and need to be informed about her ongoing treatment.

    I find the highly inaccurate, and easily refuted, information on the ages of elephants who have died at PAWS so outrageous, I will not waste time on responding. Elephant ages and other data is kept in the Asian and African studbooks and is a valuable reference for those who can read. (Click on links, above.)

    PAWS has provided this information at the risk of legal action by those who have donated elephants to us under confidentiality agreements. Toronto Zoo is requesting outside experts to evaluate this situation — although everyone who regulates us IS an outside expert. Their reluctance to allow any outside expert to examine Iringa’s foot is, therefore, even more confusing.

    Pat Derby, PAWS President

  • Meaghan Edwards

    What little people realize is that Toronto Zoo has originally rescued these elephants in the first place. If a animal shelter is expected to be stringent about where an animal goes to, why should Toronto Zoo be expected to be different? Facts are facts, PAWS isn’t the place for the girls to go for.

  • Ellespot

    at this point considering the deception that has already occurred I think it is a bit ludicrous to assume that everyone thinks whatever come out of Pat Derbys mouth is the word of god. this is a woman who had her last animal collection euthanized because she went bankrupt. PAWS can say all they want because the masses have not had the opportunity to see the evidence themselves and once that evidence is made more publically accessible I think common sense and faith in the facts will prevail. They lied. Because they knew if they didnt lie they would not have been able to take our elephants plain and simple. they need african elephants towork the private/public tours for income and marketing generation as the asians have all been exposed to TB and cant be exposed to the public because of State Health Laws…….but this doesnt mean the africans dont have Tb. as we have already seen their protocols and testing failed once and could be failing as we speak. ruby died just 3 months after Rebecca and just what did Sabu die of? You can go worship at the mountain of pat Derby like she was a religion if you like but the FACTS ARE THE FACTS and you cannot take back the truth. This is not heresay and rumours or a witch hunt its the truth designed to prevent this city from sending these animals to a place that has tuberculosis. No one says PAWS isnt a lovely place or that ellies enjoy the open space or warm weather but it is better suited as a hospice for sick or circus ellies (TB was rampant in circus industry)and not for TB free zoo elephants. Go donate a million dollars to anti poaching units rather than throw it away “saving” these elephants they dont need saving they just need a lift to Florida.

  • Sylvia Stewart

    Sylvia Stewart
    Former Head Elephant Keeper
    San Francisco Zoo

    The AZA “s “mode of operation” is one of stealth and cunning.
    BLACK OPPS Who spread the rumor about TB at PAWS?
    Who has the interest? Who wants to protect their power over all our zoo animals? Who is elspot? Is he or she a AZA Black Opps plant?
    I as the “people’s zoo keeper, stationed at the San Francisco Zoo have seen the AZA in action behind the scenes…in the shadows. I have seen the AZA move in on a zoo animal that is waiting for a governing authority hearing and be taken undercover from the zoo. A secret order came in our zoo to my director. I was order to beat, electric prod, chain my elephants for artificial insemination. The people, the taxpayers, the donors, the activist, go to their “governing authorities” seeking protection for their zoo animals.
    AZA on page 16 on accreditation states the importance of gaining control over the governing authority
    I have witnessed time and time again the governing authorities from zoo to zoo behaving like dangling “puppets” dutifully repeating the AZA required script….”the AZA is the authority, we bow to them”
    Once in a while a member of the governing authority ….as Nancy Chan PR for S. F. Zoo, stated in June 2003, “The S. F. supervisors has exceeded their boundaries” In other words,stay out of AZA business, these animals are ours. Our Sup. Gonzales asked the question,”How much money does the AZA give to the our Zoo? Director Maldenado replied, “Nothing.”
    The trail of tears goes on and on, from animal to animal, zoo to zoo. It is time people to OCCUPY AZA. THEIR ADDRESS IS ON THE NET.
    Yours always,
    Sylvia Stewart Former Head Elephant Keeper

  • Ellespot

    and feel free to visit zoo news digest on the web and read the email evidence attached to their last article on the Toronto Zoo elephants if you want to review both sides of the story and start to arm yourself with facts. Emails between PAWS vet and the California State Health Department/Tuberculosis Unit discussing the elephants that were infected by Rebecca (who died) and asking advice on how to handle it. Note how the vet seems to stop corresponding with State Health officials and a reference to receiving push back from employees about following quarantine protocols. The evidence is right there the disease prevention and diagnostic protocols at paws FAILED! I dont think we should take that risk with our ellies do you? If it wasnt such a big deal as PAWS claims then why didnt they tell the truth about it months ago? ANd why did they claim months ago that STAPAK was the best diagnostic and now they claim trunk washes are ( experts worldwide concur that trunk washes are in fact the least effective diagnostic tool). But the test results from trunk washes suited their needs better than the statpak so they reversed their previous statement son this. if you recall they claimed they wished to bring STATPAK to the Toronto Zoo to test our elephants because they claimed it was the BEST…now its not? how convenient, dont be fooled by the term “sanctuary” citizens. It is a hospice and just by assigning one’s self the name sanctuary doesnt make one exempt from wrongdoings. This is the inherent reason why a private facility was the wrong choice, what else havent they told us and what will they not tell us in the future if our girls go there? Use your intellect not just your heart and emotions and gather the truth and the facts this time around.

  • Ellespot

    san fransisco zoo? home of calle and Tinkerbelle? shall we discuss? how on youtube you can see pat derby handling tinkerbelle without gloves or a facemask after she arrived at PAWS and knowing full well she lived with calle a tuberculosis infected elephant?

  • Meaghan Edwards

    From Dr. Gai, PAWS vet herself, I present you this documentation:

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/1QuhFZ9pvotAVo96qRqocbxTlOQK7bmKfu4JlfBiBWz_559ovMnpqEQgdsCsc/edit?pli=1

    TB is a dangerous, dangerous disease. Dormant one day, active the next with a nasty tendancy to form an immunity to drugs. Where is the concern about the rhinos in Kruger National Park, witih 119 killed already there this year? Seems to me that $880,000 could have been used to help do something about that.

  • PAWS has Tuberculosis

    @ SF Keeper I might question why you obeyed any of those commands if indeed they were given. Don’t try and push other animal’s unverified abuse stories into the same story as the Toronto Zoo’s they have never been beaten.

    You had elephants with active TB at your zoo, did you warn Pat when they went to PAWS? What do you think of the procedures in place given the current state of the outbreak?

    Why don’t you work as a keeper anymore – or do you and you work for PAWS?

    Facts and logic not scare tactics and lies will prevail.

  • David

    There is factual evidence that PAWS has lied to Toronto Zoo in the effort to acquire their elephants.
    Trunk washing is highly unreliable as it can only diagnose TB during the shedding phase. To realise this a case study of the Kolmarden Zoo herd only needs to be revisited. Elephants that were found to be riddled with TB upon necropsy only prove positive to 5 trunk washes in 100′s.
    STAT/PAK and MAPPIA blood tests can detect the early signs of infection years prior to the full blown virus and shedding stage.
    The whole agreement should be null and void and the process be restarted with a complete assessment of all facilities carried out using the original guidelines drawn up by Toronto Zoo.
    If this was done PAWS would be rejected at the first hurdle along with TNES due to the fact they have animals that are TB reactive.

  • Elephant lover

    Its not a rumor about TB at PAWS it’s the truth. Why take a chance and send the Toronto Zoo elephants to a TB invested place, to me that is not a chance that should be taken if you love animals.

  • educated employee

    Mr. Barker would be best to place his funds in his own escrow and mind his own as well. This decision put forth by someone with no real right to interfere has caused more harm than any good, for her in addition to everyone directly involved. The fate of these animals will be determined by those who care for them and by the place which has been their home for decades. They are the only people who have nothing to gain and everything to loose by the poor choices thus far, as evidence reflects. What also has become evident is the unprofessional manner of MANY elected city councillors. This is where the TRUE COLORS shine the brightest.

  • Communist Cow

    Can someone please explain why PAWS is asking for donations for elephants it doesn’t even have yet? There are requests to send money for Iringa, Toka and Thika and now there are requests to send money for Mila. Why? This non-profit company earned almost 3 million dollars in donations in 2011. Now with pleas for money for 4 more elephants 2012 is going to be a very good year. PAWS sure knows how to milk the donors. The Toronto elephants need to stay just where they are.

  • PAWS has Tuberculosis

    That post is heartbreaking it points out what we have said all along that the people who care for these animals day to day know them best and passionately care about them. I trust their opinions the most and they chose a difference place that they felt was better. If animal rights activism was taken out of the equation and logic and facts prevailed then it would be a classic “no brainer” the elephants belong at TNEC where they will be happy, warm and contented with families of baby elephants (with any luck) and safe from contagious disease like the Tuberculosis outbreak at PAWS.

  • Tumbilli

    I can only shake my head in disbelief at the fact that many still think that the 3 Toronto elephants should be sent to PAWS. The documentation, as posted above is self-explanatory and should not be refuted. Step up to the plate Toronto and do what is BEST for the elephants, after all they have given the best years of their lives to you and your city and now it is your turn to repay them with a suitable retirement! Not only are very concerned Canadians watching you, many people from all over the world are watching you as well! Do the RIGHT thing and that is NOT sending them to PAWS!

  • Ashley

    We’ll keep Toka, Tika and Irunga and send you Robbo, Duggo and Mammo instead. They will definitely benefit from two trunk washes per day. However they will require shipping by subways to your California TB park.

  • Sylvia Stewart

    Sylvia Stewart
    Former Head Elephant Keeper
    San Francisco Zoo

    AZA rules all animal keepers. Keepers have no authority. The AZA calls you shit shovelers. However, if you are dutiful and obedient to the AZA, they will smile on you. It is amazing ..the same degrading statements you say about your elephants .. Michele Rudovsky, AZA Darling Keeper SF.
    Zoo … would say about her elephants “Pennie was my favorite she could be so mischievous”… AZA Puppet Keeper you talk about your elephants as if they are your PLAY DOLLS. Elephants are deeply Spiritual Beings greatly connected to the Eternal One. They have allowed themselves to be imprisoned in our zoos to help raise our species collective consciousness. From their prison ,the Toronto Elephants are generating Light…Love Energy… connection to ALL Things.. while the AZA sits behind their desks making power plays while playing with their paper doll animal cut outs as they pull the strings on their AZA Keeper Puppets as they dance around with their elephant dolls….running BLACK OPPS.
    Tell the world AZA Black Opps Keeper about the Toranto Elephants feet, especially Iringa….. Come out in the light. Tell the world how you as a keeper can tolerate KEEPING you elephants in their stall during winter months. Tell the world about degenerate joint disease. Teach us about an elephant’s sensorium feet..teach us how our Mother Earth caresses Her elephants feet as they walk..teach us AZA Black Opps Puppet Elephant Keepers teach us oh great, powerful and frightening dark shadow AZA. It would be good for all of you to come out of you self made soul prisons go to the elephants and beg their forgiveness for selfishly standing in their way to freedom to live out the rest of their lives in gracefulness.
    Sylvia Stewart
    from the Elephant Nursery Herd
    of Mae, Pennie,Tinkerbelle, Taji

  • Lori Sirianni

    Correcting the two big lies of the Toronto Zoo and the elephant keepers: there are NO elephants with active TB at PAWS. Two Asian elephants there are merely TB-exposed, and the Asians & Africans are housed separately. Second, PAWS DID send their medical records to the zoo – Tracogna is LYING. Zoocheck even has them, and had to go ask Tracogna in PERSON to read them, which he refuses to do. Instead, he and the elephant keepers LIE and claim they don’t have them. Despicable; they should all be fired on the spot. And the NEC (National Elephant Center) is going to be nothing but hard-packed dirt corrals and barns that CANNOT withstand hurricane-strength winds (remember Hurricane Andrew?). Elephants there will be housed with TB-positive elephants from other zoos and circuses.

  • Lori Sirianni

    And I wish I’d written this myself but a friend did, and gave me permission to re-post and share it:

    So, we won’t mention the TB deaths at Los Angeles, Lincoln Park, St. Louis, San Francisco, and the Smithsonian National Zoos? We won’t mention that there is no guarantee that elephants going to the NEC won’t have been exposed to TB, since elephants from those zoos have spread the disease throughout the nation, as the breeding loans and trading continues? The level of hypocrisy is astounding, and this to keep elephants dying in Canada. Did Mr. Koehl mention he was supervising childrens’ elephant rides at Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden the year before they started euthanizing FIVE elephants for TB? Did anyone mention that Bowmanville Zoo bought one of the notorious Hawthorne herd – the index herd for TB in North America? That they’ve had that one die, and four more since then, with no investigation? Did anyone mention that the NEC, with a vast nation available, is going to be built one hour away from the Ringling “Conservation” Center/elephant puppy mill. So that they can all spend vast sums of money going to extreme measures to try to get elephants kept in the equivalent of concentration camps to breed & not kill their own EEHV-infected calves? Pot calling the kettle black? No, I’d say it’s more like the skunk calling the rose stinky.

  • Kestrel

    Elephant keepers and management at the Toronto Zoo…. STOP LYING! You are villains and your stinking exhibit has killed so many of your elephants already and stands poised to kill the rest. STOP lying about the TB and stop being such LOSERS! Do you want your children to grow up knowing their parents were such idiots? Tell us all about your stinking keeper shifts and the REAL things that go on at the zoo.. Tell us about the hippo dungeon under the exhibit too. Grow up and get with the times and stop going down the wrong path in life. Stop slandering fine people with supreme standards of elephant care when all you offer is boredom, stress and mediocrity.

  • Sabine Zell

    I just don’t understand what is happening to people today. Prince and the late Sabu’s arrival to PAWS raised no such concerns. I know they were circus elephants, not zoo elephants and therefore not subject to the AZA guidelines, but the destination is the same. This just seems so much more personal than what is in the best interest of Iringa, Toka and Thika. There is bitterness among who gets to keep these elephants when really they never should have belonged to anyone. Toronto was paving the way at demonstrating kindness, empathy and humanity by allowing these girls to live their remaining years in a more suitable climate and environment. It was the final act of goodwill since Toronto Zoo’s elephant exhibit was to be retired. It was heroic. I thought the city of Toronto and each and every one of its citizens were heros. I raised you up on pedestals. But, now I am not so sure anymore…

  • Upoppy

    I am deeply ashamed at the behaviour and actions of the Toronto Zoo staff and their minions. That facility will never get a penny out of me and I will never recommend it to coworkers, friends or out of town visitors. Aside from the delusional sense of entitlement the overfed and underbred staff have, they are thoroughly uneducated and scientifically illiterate regarding TB. The Toronto Zoo’s reputation is nationally and internationally disgraced. This behaviour will be remembered.

  • Debbie McFee

    Excuse me. No one owns those elephants. They are fellow beings traveling through life on the same planet as us.

    Due to domestication, they need a loving guardian who will put the needs of the elephants before their own.

    I’m sure the elephants would find our human chidishness ludicrous.

    We need to grow up, get out of the way, and take better care of our fellow beings.

    What is the the best possible scenario for the elephants, personalities aside?

    God is watching us.

  • Laura Cotter

    LIES Lies and more Lies from anyone bashing PAWS sanctuary.
    Truth via website and photos and Google Earth and tons of people who have been there and given testimony and posted photos for all to see of their visits,….
    – BULL MOUNTAIN houses asian bulls separate from any other elephants and bulls are within site of each other.
    –ASIAN FEMALES have their own vast territory, barn and ponds.
    –AFRICAN FEMALES have their own vast territory and hills to graze and presently contains…
    LULU – there from San Francisco Zoo since 2005
    MARA – there since 1990
    MAGGIE – there from Alaska Zoo since 2007.
    These are the three healthy african elephants that Toka, Iringa and Thicka would bond with as a herd.
    All free to roam the valley and hills and ponds of their own habitat in sunny California with some of the best weather on planet Earth.
    WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE WHO WILL LIE TO DENY THESE REMAINING STILL ALIVE 3 TORONTO ZOO ELEPHANTS THIS LUXURY AND FREEDOM….to graze all day in abundant sunshine and be pampered with bamboo and high quality meals, and best veterinary and medical care when needed…..which is RARE!?????
    ANYONE SAYING ANYTHING BAD ABOUT PAWS AND ITS MANAGEMENT AND CAREGIVERS NEEDS PSYCHIATRIC HELP!

  • Tory

    Thank you to Silvia Stewart, the former SF Zoo keeper to speak the truth, especially about the bombastic AZA – from a person more professional than we have seen from the Toronto Zoo keepers.

    To Monika Warzecha; There is no tuberculosis at PAWS. There are only ANTIBODIES that are positive at PAWS. Exposure leads to antibodies to shield from disease. Prophylaxis with antibiotics further prevents conversion to active disease, what you just called tuberculosis. Please correct the rumor that there is Tb at PAWS. This was put out by the keepers to fear monger. Note that they will not ever include the above in their press releases either. Nor the fact that the medical records are in Toronto and that the keepers refused to see them when offered during their visit to PAWS.

    These people have no honor for their city and its signed contract. Yes, who are they to deny the city-owned elephants, not the keeper-owned elephants, the best place in the world to live? They are the people who let 7 of 11 elephants die in a wretchedly small freezing habitat and then have the nerve to call themselves professionals with expertise. In human medicine their licenses would have been taken away on the second negligent death.

  • annab

    wow. Get a grip, people. Toronto Zoo, you’ve actually managed to out-do Edmonton Zoo as a national embarrassment. Way to go, that wasn’t an easy one but you’ve just stooped waaaaay below their record low. I feel bad for the elephants whose lives seem to be in the hands of a bunch of petty, vindictive, seriously psycho, bitter control freaks. Whoo hoo. Even if all your conspiracy theories and crazy accusations were all true, even if ALL the elephants at PAWS somehow had TB or been exposed to it, what you yahoos don’t realize, is that those elephants would STILL have a better life – a better QUALITY of life – at PAWS than they ever have or would at a damn zoo, where they would be kept on display, for people’s entertainment and for the zoo’s profits. Someone has to be seriously damaged to even question that. Or employed in the zoo or captivity industry. Get over it, thank the elephants for having provided you a JOB all these years and profit for the zoo, let the poor elephants go, let them enjoy their retirement – they deserve it. And stop acting like vindictive You are an embarrassment, give it up already and at least try to retain a shred of dignity for god’s sake. LET THE ELEPHANTS GO ALREADY.

  • annab

    And I really hope someone is going to fire the Zoos management? I can’t even believe how someone who’s not only allowed is employees to publicly behave this way but has also conducted himself in the most unprofessional way – all of them completely out of control and tarnishing the zoo’s reputation – how a person who still be considered fit to be in charge. I mean, seriously. Do you know any organization who would actually allow its entire staff and high management to pull this kind of thing? Unheard of. This isn’t a private organization either, doesn’t the city of Toronto own the zoo? Get rid of these people already. Geez, why are they still employed?

  • Winona Kitto

    The differences between life in a zoo and life in a sanctuary are immense. Sanctuary life benefits elephants, whereas zoo life benefits people.
    T.B. exposed means the elephants have anti-bodies, but are not ill with t.b.
    I pray the Toronto Zoo will allow the elephants to go to the sanctuary. I believe most people would rather pay to see elephants in a habitat as close to their natural one, than in a zoo.

  • Elehugger

    To: Sylvia Stewart Former Head Elephant Keeper
    I see why you are a former keeper…have you gotten the psychiatric help you need? You sure do come across as a wingnut!

    How do you people think that the TB positive elephants got that way? THEY WERE EXPOSED TO TB POSITIVE ELEPHANTS AT PAWS! If PAWS cannot keep elephants safe and healthy, why would anyone in their right mind send animals there? That actually makes them an anti-sanctuary! These newly infected elephants are not safe, and no longer healthy. Shame on you, you should be shut down and prosecuted for abuse. Willfully infecting innocent elephants, and deceiving the institutions that chose to send their animals to you for safe keeping. Kind of sounds like PeTA – people give their pets to PeTA for rehoming; and PeTA kills them and throws them in dumpsters. And didn’t Pat Derby do just that with her wolves? Killed them all, willfully and deliberately, and proudly writes about it in her book. Guess she didn’t have Bob Barker’s money to keep her afloat, and that’s the real reason she is after Toronto’s elephants. The jig is up, people know she infects animals with disease and kills them, she’ll never get another elephant again so there goes her funding source. She’ll have to kill all her lions, tigers and monkeys and bears now. Maybe she can sell the corpses and skins for profit?

  • Donna Reynolds

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about with these African elephants in Toronto. I have 3 Emperor Penguins in my bathroom and they love it at 65 degrees F. Once a week they get a cool bath in the tub, and I always put on Animal Planet when I leave the house. They are perfectly happy and they hate to travel: so don’t even suggest I send them to a “sanctuary”. I know best what they need : ME !

  • Qpoppy

    Toronto Zoo staff are thoroughly uneducated and scientifically illiterate regarding TB.

    At PAWS there is positive test to ANTIBODIES for Tb, not the mycobacterium itself, and only in the ASIANS, not the Africans at PAWS where the species do not meet.

    Toronto Zoo staff are childish, first-class liars. They have been offered the medical records of the PAWS elephants for review multiple times.

    The Toronto Zoo’s reputation is nationally and internationally disgraced. This behaviour WILL be remembered in the public’s minds and wallets.

  • RH

    When you strip away the human interference/inaccurate info flying around the bottom line is the physiological and emotional needs of these 3 Elephants. They need to range many miles each day and would benefit by being in a larger social group of female African Eles.. They also need to live in a climate that will not further their health issues. At their mature age it would be a great kindness to afford them this reprieve.
    Anyone making comments negatively about PAWS simply have no first hand knowledge of the place or their important purpose. In a time of increasing financial challenges for zoos and liability issues for circuses and Elephant rides there will be even greater need for the two Sanctuaries in the USA.
    There is good reason why the counsel voted to retire the 3 Elephants..Their judgement matters as they gave great consideration to the financial costs of keeping these Eles and their present needs as aging Eles w health issues.
    What do all of these turn of events tell you? Global opinions are changingf about captive Eles and for scientifically sounds reasons we need to understand this evolution.
    If you care anything about Eles in captivity you will visit PAWS on one of their numerous public visitation days. I have You will come closer to understanding why their is a ground swell of support for these 3 Eles to be retired to California.
    I hope the noise being created by all the misguided human emotion does not condemn these Eles to more freezing winters in a habitat that will only further their health issues while the humans can leave Toronto in winter and seek warmth in Palm Springs or some other snow bird escape. In the end shouldn’t these Eles be afforded the same relief?
    FYI-there is no such thing as a domesticated Elephant. They are forever wild and suffer great hardship in captivity~period

  • Cindy Wines

    I have been to PAWS many times. I donate to PAWS on a regular basis. Pat Derby and her staff have loved and taken care of elephants, tigers, lions and bears for many years. This is elephant heaven. The weather is warm, they have fields of grass and trees and ponds to swim in. They are housed separately until they feel that the elephants are safe to be among the other elephants. These lies about TB at PAWS are not TRUE! They have a full staff of vets and experienced staff that take care of these elephants, love them and let them be among HAPPY and healthy elephants. THINK of the benefit of these three elephants. BOb Barker is willing to fly these 3 eles in a private plane to the wonderful place of PAWS. STOp acting stupid and spreading these lies. The clock is ticking. Get them shipped to PAWS.
    This is a wonderful sanctuary!!!!

  • Jerri Miller

    It is mean and abusive to force the elephants to stay in your ZOO when they could have the freedom of PAWS SANCTUARY instead. STOP keeping the elephants imprisoned at the zoo

  • Bonnie Miller-Weishsr

    Please do NOT keep the elephants at the zoo when they can have their freedom and enjoy life at PAWS Sanctuary.

  • jemo

    I have hepatitis B antibodies. It doesn’t mean I have Hep B. In my case I was inoculated, and antibodies are a good thing. Humans can carry TB antibodies as well without ever having active TB.
    But that’s beside the point. It is appalling that Zoo staff and management lie and distort reality with impunity. In any organization with integrity, only the head speaks for the organization. The footsoldiers are not permitted to debate issues. Just in case it’s not clear why that’s a good policy, read the posts above mine, the Facebook and twitter posts, and see how much shame they bring not only on the writers but on the organization.
    Meanwhile Toka, Thika and Iringa languish and will die soon if not moved.

  • Tory

    Rather than let Tarra go to the hospice so derided by the keepers, PAWS, the zoo let Tarra suffer terribly. See this video of poor Tara in Toronto showing her crippled back end w/one back leg 4 times wider than the other. This resulted from the elephants not having enough space a TZ and the elephants went after each other. Tarra is deceased and now freed from pain. One of the 7 the keepers never talk about as if she never mattered.

  • Tory

    Rather than let Tarra go to the “hospice” so derided by the keepers, PAWS, the zoo let Tarra suffer terribly. See this video of poor Tara in Toronto showing her crippled back end w/one back leg 4 times wider than the other. This resulted from the elephants not having enough space a TZ and the elephants went after each other. Tarra is deceased and now freed from pain. One of the 7 the keepers never talk about as if she never mattered. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfSLIgitAEc

  • Sylvia Stewart

    Sylvia Stewart
    Former Head Elephant Keeper
    San Francisco Zoo

    I am so pleased that the darkness of the AZA OPS is clearing. The beauty of people in Toronto and all over the world is shining brighter and brighter. Elephants are powerful aren’t they. The elephants at PAWS and the elephants at Toronto Zoo are spiritually in contact with each other through their great ability to generate Love Energy and their deep connection to The Eternal One. Thank you beautiful people who reach out to them and try to understand their greatness.
    Yours,
    Sylvia Stewart
    Nursery Herd of Mae, Pennie, Tinkerbelle, Taji

  • Lee Ann McIndoo

    Please, please, PLEASE do what IS best for these three long-suffering beings and send them to paradise. Put yourselves in their feet. Wouldn’t you rather be at PAWS then in a cold, unnatural setting? Put the almighty dollar and your egos aside and think about what joy and happiness you can give to some very deserving, innocent and sentient near-humans. They are as close to humans as an other creature can be. Give them the same respect and dignity. They have payed their dues and deserve to retire after a lifetime of serving at the zoo. Thank you!!!

  • animal lover

    The whole problem started when an uneducated counsel was duped by PAWS. The counsel should have trusted the information of the many experts they have at the zoo and not an outside special interest party. I hope in the future counsel will be wise enough not to make the same mistake and trust the care of the zoo animals to their expert compassionate staff at the zoo.

 

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