The Toronto Zoo board voted last week to go along with the city council’s October decision to send a trio of aging female elephants to the Performing Animal Welfare Sanctuary in San Andreas. PAWS is headquartered in Galt.
The outcome was unclear earlier in November when zookeepers challenged the vote because PAWS is not accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Maryland-based organization that certifies hundreds of zoos in North America.
PAWS founders have said they do not agree with all of AZA’s beliefs, thus they are not sanctioned by the organization.
The AZA had threatened to withdraw Toronto’s accreditation in large part because it believes the “experts” — keepers and managers at the zoo — are best positioned to decide the fate of the animals, not city council members, according to news reports.
In spring, when the zoo board voted to close down the elephant exhibit, staff were instructed to first look for an AZA-accredited facility for the animals. Only after that option was exhausted was a sanctuary supposed to be on the table.
But in October, when zoo staff still hadn’t announced where the trio was going, city council stepped in, the Toronto Star News reported.
Last week’s decision clears the way to move Toka, Thika and Iringa from Canada to San Andreas by the end of April.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.