The Toronto Zoo was ranked #2 on the list of the worst zoos for elephants in North America.
The cold climate conditions and the small living components at only 37-square-metres (which are, in fact, only at the bare minimum) are dangerous for the elephants' health.
Four elephants have died at the Toronto Zoo in the past four years, two of them having died just last year. The elephants that passed away were around the age of 40, including 41-year-old Tara. Various critics call 40-year-old elephants middle-aged while others refer to them as senior citizens. If Toronto loses one more elephant, the exhibit can be deemed "unhealthy" by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
The Toronto Zoo has plans to expand and better the living conditions in their pachyderm exhibit with a $50 million rennovation that would include the installment of heated floors to tend to the elephants' tender feet. However, the Zoo's $250 million fundraising campaign has been stalled, making the $50 million a hard number to reach.
I am in limbo with the situation. For one, elephants are adorable creatures and should get the best treatment making the $50 million a harmless number. However, the Toronto Zoo could also close the exhibit and move the elephants to another zoo with more space and better climate conditions to benefit their health.
I'm not quite sure how long these elephants have been at the Toronto Zoo, but it wouldn't be an understatement to say that elephants and other animals do adapt to their surrounding climate. Would moving these elephants who are somewhat used to their Toronto atmosphere to another, warmer, environment cause more havoc than we know?
Steve Feldman, a spokesperson for the AZA, which accredits the Toronto Zoo agrees and said that there is no specific evidence to prove that cold weather is harmful to elephants.
Then, I wonder, what about that Hippo that escaped from the Albanian Zoo? Or, African Lion Safari in Cambridge, Ontario, which has four elephants and boasts that it has "the most successful breeding program for Asian elephants in North America?"