: 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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Friday, 23 November 2012

City Council to Consider Elephant Transfer Again

The Elephant Transfer issue will be discussed by Toronto City Council at the next City Council meeting on November 27th-28th, 2012.

Toronto Zoo's CEO John Tracogna submitted "Elephant Transfer Due Diligence Review (20-Nov-2012)" documents as part of agenda item EX24.30 Elephant Transfer Status Update.

The summary of the review is:

As requested by the Executive Committee, this report provides the results of the Toronto Zoo's Due Diligence Review of the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) facility, in relation to the transfer of the Zoo's three African elephants, Toka, Thika and Iringa. Based on the Due Diligence Review, and in the opinion of the Toronto Zoo Senior Veterinarian, the Toronto Zoo CEO concludes that PAWS is not a suitable facility for the three elephants, due to the presence of tuberculosis in the PAWS elephant collection, lack of access to PAWS' current health records, and issues concerning biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of disease at PAWS. Additionally, there is no workable transportation plan currently in place from PAWS, for the safe and humane transport of the elephants.

As requested by the Executive Committee, Toronto Zoo has looked at some options for the relocation of the elephants. Toronto Zoo has made inquiries with the National Elephant Centre (TNEC), a new facility opening in Florida in early spring 2013. TNEC has offered to house the three Toronto Zoo elephants as per the attached letter. Given the choice between a facility with a potential disease risk and one without, the Toronto Zoo would choose the disease free location. Zoo staff will undertake a full review of TNEC and any other potential options and report to the Toronto Zoo Board of Management on a recommended future home for the three elephants.

The documents that the Toronto Zoo's CEO submitted are:

Elephant Transfer Due Diligence Review (20-Nov-2012), with 3 attachments:

  1. Due Diligence Review, with 6 sub-attachments:
    1. PAWS Aerial Site
    2. USDA Reports for “Rebecca” and “Sabu” and PAWS' other elephants
    3. Letter from Dr. Michele Miller, DVM, PhD, Veterinary Advisory to the AZA Elephant Advisory Group
    4. Letter from Dr. Ramiro Isaza, DVM, MS, MPH, DACZM, Associate Professor of Zoological Medicine, University of Florida
    5. Letter from Dr. Ian Duncan, Professor Emeritus, Emeritus Chair in Animal Welfare, University of Guelph
    6. Letter from Dr. Dale Smith, DVM, DVSc, Professor, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph
  2. Letter from Mr. John Lehnhardt, Executive Director, The National Elephant Center
  3. Letter from Mayor Susan Adams, Fellsmere, Florida

The following excerpts appeared in the media:

Toronto Star (22-Nov-2012):

California sanctuary ‘not suitable’ for Toronto’s elephants, zoo’s CEO says

The California sanctuary slated as the next home for the Toronto Zoo’s three remaining elephants “isn’t suitable” because it has a problem with tuberculosis, says the zoo’s CEO in a report set to go before city council next week.

Toronto Sun (22-Nov-2012):

Toronto Zoo says California sanctuary unsafe for its elephants

“There are several significant concerns that lead the Toronto Zoo to conclude PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society) is not an acceptable facility for the Toronto Zoo’s elephants,” a due diligence review, conducted by zoo staff and going before city council next week, says.