19 September 2013, 12:39

Elephants in Toronto Zoo have issues adapting to new crates for move to US

Африка слон

African elephants, who have called the Toronto Zoo their home for over three decades are leaving for the US, yet have an important task to conquer before departing. Animal keepers are trying to train the three of them to stand in one place for extended periods of time in brand new steel crates that will ship them off to a sanctuary in California.

Even though the staff has been training the elephants for their departure via a steel cage for over a year, the animals are having issues getting used to the crates, according to supervisor Chris Dulong at the Toronto Zoo. Dulong said Iringa, the oldest of Toronto’s elephants, has been putting up a bit of a fight since the crates arrived earlier this month

“[Iringa] knows that it’s a different crate. We’ve had to go back and actually get her used to different sounds in the crate [by] banging the sides of the crate [and] doing noise sessions so that she’s comfortable standing,” Dulong told reporters Iringa. He said Iringa had walked into the crate just fine, but refuses to “present her feet” for trainers to restrain her.

The three elephants will be shipped to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) with the help of one crane and two trucks, in mid-October. PAWS takes in retired and abused animals that have performed throughout their lives. Metal bars and chains are to be snagged onto their ankles while they are traveling in the crates.

Julie Woodyer, spokeswoman for Zoocheck, an animal protection charity who are to oversee the elephants’ journey, said the crates were specially built for Toronto’s last remaining elephants. In every crate, a video monitoring system and climate controls are present. The trip will take about 50 to 60 hours to complete and the elephants will have to stay in an upright position the whole time.

“You don’t want them turning around and moving around too much in the crate and [to] end up going down because their organs can be crushed under their own weight,” Woodyer explained. Three expert elephant managers and two vets will be accompanying the elephants throughout their journey.

Voice of Russia, National Post

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