Longtime animal activist and retired "The Price is Right" host Bob Barker has helped fund the long journey three elephants took to get from the Toronto Zoo to a California sanctuary.
The trio of pachyderms, Iringa, Thika and Toka, had been living at the Toronto Zoo in Ontario, Canada. After intense lobbying by Barker and others, the Toronto City Council voted to send the animals to the Performing Animal Welfare Society's ARK 2000 compound in San Andreas, California.
PAWS is the largest captive wildlife sanctuary in the US, and is a haven for elephants, lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) who have been relocated from zoos and retired from the circus.
According to the sanctuary's website, "The elephant habitats at ARK 2000 provide the elephants with acres of varied natural terrain to roam, lakes to bathe in, and state-of-the-art elephant barns equipped with heated stalls and therapeutic jacuzzis."
The elephants were transported in trailers and were accompanied by handlers and veterinarians to make sure they safely made the four-day trip. Barker spent nearly $1 million funding their release and transportation. He was present the moment the animals arrived at their new home.
"It was more than emotional for me, for all of us," said Barker during a press conference. "I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. It's hard to believe they are finally here."