There is a documented risk for the Toronto Zoo African elephants
Calle and Tuberculosis
The on-line publication of Freedom of Information documents in April of 2012 FORCED PAWS, Zoocheck and Toronto City Councillors to admit what they had all failed to inform the public or the zoo of for months and in some cases blatantly denied. The PAWS coalition led the public to believe that there were no tuberculosis risks, no tuberculosis outbreaks or transmission. After the first USDA FOIA was released they claimed that the Tuberculosis outbreak was only amongst their Asian elephants and that there were no risks to the African herd.
STATPAK didn’t diagnose Rebecca while she was tuberculosis positive and they didn’t even know she had Tuberculosis again until she died? She had Tuberculosis before surely there was some reaction on the test. Did they misdiagnose the STATPAK results and assume it was residual from her previous infection with the disease?
If the diagnostics for Tuberculosis (STATPAK and Trunk wash) failed to diagnose active Tuberculosis in the Asian herd which resulted in Tuberculosis on site transmission.
Those same diagnostics cannot be counted on to diagnose the African herd.
Did they possibly also misdiagnose Ruby’s STATPAKS? She had been treated before, was there a residual of the disease assumed to be inactive?
Where are Ruby’s tissue cultures? She had a bronchial mass on her lung at time of necropsy.
- NO TISSUE CULTURES WERE DONE to determine whether the mass was tuberculosis – WHY?
- she had a high risk history of exposure and was even treated as a precautionary measure at the LA Zoo
- She was exposed to the infected Asian herd at PAWS for 2 years when she lived in the SHARED barn with ALL the elephants
- PAWS fought tooth and nail to prevent Toronto Zoo vets from reviewing deceased elephant’s necropsy and medical reports – WHY?
- PAWS has never complied with the Toronto Zoo vets requests for the tissue cultures for two deceased African elephants Ruby and 71
- If they were so confident that their herd was Tuberculosis free why then didn’t they just have the cultures done so it was documented?
Tinkerbelle had just left the San Francisco Zoo where her herd mate Calle had died from tuberculosis. You can see Pat Derby is not wearing any protective gear as if she has magical powers which can protect her and others, human and animal from infection
Calle had lived with Annie and Gita at the LA Zoo, Annie died from tuberculosis as well. Gita went on to live with Ruby. After Gita died Ruby went to PAWS. That is a pretty intense history of exposure to this disease. Enough that the bronchial mass on her lung should have been cultured for the disease.
If you love elephants so much why would you leave this as an unknown and put not only your current elephants at risk but also bring new elephants into the herd and put them at risk also?
This is animal welfare?
Or is this a mandate?
Toronto Zoo vet shave been censored by City Hall and PAWS claim they have “legal” obligations to the elephants’ previous owners which gives them the right to disallow the zoo vets from making their findings public.
Ruby’s previous owners was the LA Zoo –
By keeping the information about Ruby’s lung mass a “secret” the zoo and its staff are being unfairly accused of unnecessary delays – tuberculosis predominantly affects the lung tissues. This failure to culture was irresponsible, there is no logical explanation for it. Surely PAWS knew that the Toronto Zoo elephants were going to be relocated, Ruby died just two months before the Zoo board made its announcement to phase out the exhibit. We know that Zoocheck lobbied right away to have PAWS included as a potential home for the elephants.
It is all just a little too convenient. Without Ruby’s tissue cultures no one can prove she had tuberculosis or that she didn’t have tuberculosis. However the supporting evidence and arguments indicating that there is a potential risk are much more powerful than the evidence being argued to deny the risks.