The irrepressible Bob Barker has offered pay $880,000 for the three elephants at the Toronto Zoo to be flown to the PAWS sanctuary in California.
Barker had already offered to pay for Thika, Iringa and Toka, aged 42, 41 and 30, to be taken to the California sanctuary by truck. But one of them has a foot problem that has only gotten worse in the last few months. (Zoo confinement is notoriously responsible for serious foot problems since elephants are built for long walks on soft ground – not for standing around endlessly on concrete.)
“They have suffered so much for so long and now they have an opportunity to live the rest of their lives at what has been described as `elephant paradise,'” Barker said. “To think that one of them might not survive the trip in a truck touched my heart and purse strings.”
The trio will travel in crates aboard a Russian cargo jet.
Last year, the 88-year-old former host of The Price Is Right was front and center at board meetings and press conferences in Toronto, where he made the case for the elephants to be released. Following their meeting with him, the city council voted 31 to 4 to release the animals into the care of PAWS.