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Bob Barker, former host of game show The Price is Right spent nearly $1 million to transfer three African elephants from the Toronto Zoo in Ontario, Canada, to an elephant sanctuary in San Andreas, California. Long time animal activist Barker couldn't bear to leave elephants Iringa, Thika and Toka in a place they didn't belong.
“Elephants don’t belong it Canada, it’s too cold,” Barker told the Daily News on Wednesday. “These three were confined to a barn most of the year, probably as much as 80% of the time, and they were slowly going to die right there in that zoo.”
The 89-year old TV host took action, arranging and providing funds for the three elephants to make the four day journey from Ontario to the 2,000 acre ARK 2000 compound at the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in California. The Sacramento Bee reported that the elephants traveled in specially modified trailers with handlers and veterinarians.
According to the Associated Press, Barker had lobbied for more than two years before being able to finally relocate the elephants. Needless to say, Barker was thrilled when the elephants arrived at the sanctuary on Sunday night, "It was more than emotional for me, for all of us," he said. "I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. It's hard to believe they are finally here."
Iringa, Thika and Toka are in good hands and in good company alongside three more happy pachyderms. In an interview with The Sacramento Bee, Ed Stewart, who is considered one of the world’s leading specialists in the housing and care of captive elephants, said "[The adjustment project] may take weeks, months or even longer. Our job will be to give each elephant the best care and their own time and space in which to adjust." Stewart will work closely with keepers and a veterinary team to help the elephants adjust to their new companions and surroundings.
Barker plans to continue doing whatever he can to help animals. “I had a job that I loved... I was very well paid for it, and now I’m spending my money,” Barker told Fox40, “I intend to die broke."