: Citizens advocating to: (a) keep the three elephants at the Toronto Zoo, and (b) in the
alternative, have them moved to an AZA-accredited facility such as The National Elephant Center (TNEC) in Florida.

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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Getting to Know Toka, Thika and Iringa

Toka is a 42 year-old female African Bush elephant. She was born in the wild of Mozambique in 1970. In Sep-1974, she arrived at the Toronto Zoo.

Iringa: (shown in photo at left)
Iringa is a 43 year-old female African Bush elephant. She was born in the wild of Mozambique in 1969. In Nov-1974, she arrived at the Toronto Zoo.

About the name Iringa: The name is derived from the Hehe word lilinga, meaning "fort". There is a city and region in Tanzania named Iringa.

Thika is a 32 year-old female African Bush elephant. She was born on 18-Oct-1980 at the Toronto Zoo to parents Tantor(M) and Tequila(F). Thika was the first African elephant born in Canada and the 4th born in North America.

About the name Thika: There are two explanations for the name Thika (pronounced "Thee-ka"; "Thee" as in Theo and Thea). One has its origin in the Kikuyu word Guthika, meaning "to bury". The other explanation comes from the Maasai word Sika meaning "rubbing something off an edge". There is an industrial town in Central Province, Kenya named Thika.

How to Tell the Elephants Apart:

Click photos to enlarge.

Toka has the long tusks, with left tusk that is broken (shorter than right tusk). She also has a small hole in her left ear. See: Video of Toka.

Iringa is very easy, she has a large rip in her right ear and short stubby tusks. See: Video of Iringa.

The one without these characteristics would be Thika, who is leaner and taller as well. In comparison to Iringa, Thika has longer tusks and hair on her tail, plus she's taller! See: Video of Thika.

    -- source:

Note from a Toronto Zoo elephant keeper:
Toka’s enthusiasm is enough to snap any person out of a bad mood, she is eager to please and an amazing elephant to work with.

Iringa is incredibly smart, and has an unwavering faith in us. That faith is a testament to this elephant program that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of.

Thika… well, Thika is a brat… and is the favourite of many keepers because of this.

    -- source:

Thika's Birth Announcement (18-Oct-1980, 6:40pm):

Birth Announcement of African elephant Thika  (18-Oct-1980, 6:40pm), Toronto Zoo
Announcing the arrival of Thika, the Toronto Sun, October 27, 1980.

Coincidentally, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 15th Prime Minister of Canada, was born on October 18, 1919.

Read the About page for an overview of the saga that the Toronto Zoo elephants are going through. Go to About page.