Councillor Josh Matlow

City News: Council votes to transfer Toronto Zoo elephants to California sanctuary

After months of controversy on the animal’s well-being, Toronto city council voted Tuesday night to send the Toronto Zoo’s three elephants to a California sanctuary.

“Its a proper and humane retirement plan for our elephants,” Coun. Josh Matlow tweeted after the vote passed.


The motion passed by a vote of 31-4.

The zoo’s elephant program came under scrutiny earlier this year, when television personality Bob Barker said Toronto was too cold to house the pachyderms, and began pressuring the zoo to send its African Bush elephants south of the border.

The zoo was already facing concerns over whether the city could afford a new $16.5-million elephant facility or the animals’ $1-million annual upkeep bill. Four of the zoo’s elephants have died in the past five years.

Toronto currently has three elephants. Iringa is 42 years old, Toka is 41, and Thika — born at Toronto Zoo in 1980 — is 30.

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