Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Followup: Some Zoo Keepers Fighting to Stop Elephant Transfer to Sanctuary

Excepted from the Toronto News....
War has erupted between Toronto Zoo elephant keepers and the animal rights group helping to co-ordinate a move of three aging elephants to a California sanctuary.

Zoocheck Canada’s Julie Woodyer told the Star she has rescinded an offer to pay for one of the dozen keepers to fly to the PAWS sanctuary this weekend with her and two councillors, Michelle Berardinetti and Raymond Cho.

She is also considering shutting the keepers out of training the pachyderms for the risky trip — a move the keepers say would be foolish and potentially dangerous for the animals they know better than anyone.

Woodyer said last week a trainer would be welcome on the trip, which follows council’s vote to override a zoo board decision to first look for an accredited zoo as a new home for Iringa, 42; Toka, 41; and Thika, 31.

That changed, she said, last Friday when one of the keepers started calling councillors directly, urging them to hold another vote and reverse the decision to send the animals to the 80-acre PAWS sanctuary in San Andreas.

“That’s insubordination — city staff can’t go above their managers’ head and do those kinds of things,” Woodyer said. “They were trying to sabotage the process. We’re happy to work with them but need them to be straight up and upfront with us.”

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