The following is the follow up to the email received in reply from Mayor Ford which was published in the last Zoo News Digest.
One wonders when if ever the Toronto Councillors will ever admit they are making the wrong move. I fear they are too stubborn or ignorant to do so.
Dear Mayor Ford,
I very much appreciate the reply one of your staff sent me, but to be honest I was hoping to receive something from you! I thought after all the e-mails I have sent you, we had a common interest of doing the right thing for Toronto Zoo Elephants, as per your comment in a newspaper article about wishing that the councillors had left Zoo business to Zoo staff that are paid by the City to make decisions! In my previous e-mails I have stated that I have passed on numerous newspaper articles about what has been going on between the Zoo Management and some of your Councillors, so the reply I received shows to me that it was a standard e-mail and not a personal one!
The P.A.W.S TB Sanctuary originally stated numerous times that they had never had any problem with TB, lately they admit that they have had problems with some of their Asian elephants, but refuse to admit any problems with their Africans! It turns out that one of their Africans has had TB, so where will out Toronto Girls be housed? They have an Asian female barn, an African female barn and two Asian bull barns, so no place for our girls?
At least one of your Councillors continues to deny any TB at the facility, even after the facility admits they have had TB in at least the Asians! Also at least one of your Councillors has stated that “TB or not, they have to be sent”! I really wonder if when they have or will have to find a retirement home or nursing home for one or more of their parents, “if they would consider sending them to a facility that was known to have residents with TB or other transmittable diseases”? But then, we are “only talking about three female African elephants, one that was actually born at the Zoo and was the first Elephant born in Canada and the fourth to be born in North America”! “Maybe if they were tax paying/voting residents of the City of Toronto, they would be considered to be sent to an accredited facility like the National Elephant Centre http://bing.search.sympatico.ca/?q=National%20Elephant%20Centre&mkt=en-ca&setLang=en-CA located in Florida and will open in September! Why are certain members trying to push our three girls to a T.B Sanctuary a month or so before they can go to sunny Florida, I really hope they haven’t received financial support from one of these organizations?
The National Elephant Centre http://bing.search.sympatico.ca/?q=National%20Elephant%20Centre&mkt=en-ca&setLang=en-CA will be set up to work with our Elephants in a protected contact setup, unlike the P.A.W.S TB Sanctuary, where on their web site their founder Pat Derby can be seen hugging working hands on with their African and Asian elephants. I wonder if they know that Iringa almost killed a Keeper back in November '93 and it is hard to say just how she would be in free contact again? She may have had only a bad hair day? This was well documented by the Toronto media and I found out while staying at the Kuala Lumpur Zoo as a guest in their guest house during my six week Singapore/ Malaysia/ Thailand working Zoo/Elephant trip was sponsored by my wife, not by the City of Toronto tax payers!
I truly hope that both you and your Councilors finally make the right decision that makes the new home for Toka, Iringa and Thika the National Elephant Centre!
Have a Great Day and keep Cool!
The Retired Wanderin Elephant Man
-Professional Elephant Trainers
-Elephant Managers Association
-Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Retired: Toronto Zoo Keeper/ Public Relations/Marketing (on and off from July 1974 to February 2010)