Loading articles...

Bob Barker says Toronto too cold for elephants; city councillor agrees

Bob Barker, a longtime support of animal rights, was in Toronto Friday to urge the city to move its elephants to a warmer climate.

“I’m here to talk with some of the city fathers about the three elephants at the Toronto Zoo,” Barker said at the Citytv building at Yonge and Dundas.

Barker argued the elephants — Toka, Thika and Iringa — belong in a sanctuary in a much warmer climate. At least one member of the zoo board agrees.

“These elephants have been there for 30 or 40 years. Just like us, they’ve worked hard for a long time and it’s time to send them down south to enjoy their sunset years, much like most of our seniors want to do,” city councillor and zoo board member Glenn De Baeremaeker told reporters at City Hall on Friday.

De Baeremaeker said he was optimistic that a vote scheduled for next month would result in the closure of the pachyderm exhibit.

“I think there’s a lot of very positive momentum to protect our elephants and to free our elephants at the Toronto zoo,” De Baeremaeker said.

Barker has long argued elephants don’t belong in Canada. The former “Price is Right” host even offered to spend some of his own money to facilitate the move.

“It would be like having a polar bear in Las Vegas. It’s not a place where they can be healthy or happy,” Barker said.

At least four elephants have died at the Toronto Zoo in the past four years. Elephants have lived there since it opened in 1974.

For the last three years, the Toronto Zoo has studied whether to close the elephant exhibit or spend $40 million on upgrades. A vote is planned for May 12.

“The more we talk about these elephants, the more people will want them out,” he said.

With files from The Canadian Press.