Bob Barker says Canada 'no place for elephants'
Former Price is Right host offers to pay to move 3 Toronto elephants to California
Legendary game show host Bob Barker says it will cost $200,000 to move three elephants from the Toronto Zoo to a California sanctuary, and he doesn't mind paying for it himself.
Toronto city council voted in October to move the elephants to a facility run by PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society) near Galt, Calif., called ARK 2000.
The former host of The Price is Right, interviewed on CBC News Network on Monday, said the three female African elephants — Toka, Thika and Iringa — would be better off in a warmer climate.
"I don't think there should be elephants in Canada," said Barker, 88, during a live interview with CBC’s Carole MacNeil. "I love Canada and I love Canadians, but it's not the place for elephants and I think it's becoming obvious to the people up there.
"I grew up in South Dakota and I know a little bit about cold, and it's just not the place for an elephant."
P.O.V.: Should Canadian zoos close elephant exhibits?
Barker also said he wants to see Lucy, an elephant at the Valley Zoo in Edmonton, moved to the California sanctuary. The fate of the 36-year-old Asian elephant has been the subject of a court fight between animal activists who want her moved and city officials who insist her facilities are adequate.
"Nothing gives me more satisfaction than making helping these elephants be as comfortable as they can be in captivity," said Barker.
The elephant California facility features large terrain to roam, lakes to bathe in, and barns equipped with heated stalls and therapeutic Jacuzzis.
A team from the Toronto Zoo was scheduled to visit the sanctuary this weekend to check it out and plan details of the move.
The zoo has been under pressure from animal rights activists to make the move, partly because the aging animals aren't well-adapted to cold weather and the concrete floor of their enclosure is hard on their feet.
Elephant keepers at the Toronto Zoo, however, are opposed to the decision and want city council to revoke its plan to send its elephants to a California sanctuary.
Barker said he has not yet received a response from Toronto council about his offer to cover the cost of transporting the elephants.
- Lucy the elephant is at the Valley Zoo in Edmonton, not the Edmonton Zoo, as previously reported.Dec 19, 2011 5:40 PM ET
With files from The Canadian Press