Home » toronto zoo elephants » Let’s clarify some things Councillor Berardinetti

Let’s clarify some things Councillor Berardinetti

healthy thikaLets set the record straight since Toronto City Councillor Michelle Berardinetti, who has never visited the Toronto zoo before seems to be implying on social media that our youngest Toronto Zoo elephant Thika was in some way not healthy before she left for PAWS.

And that Thika’s current condition is somehow a result of her life or care at the Toronto Zoo. Perhaps the Councillor is aiding PAWS in what appears to be some kind of cover up regarding the affects the 70hr inhumane road transport had on these elephants. There seem to be a lot of clues being laid out like little bread crumbs, and the PAWS supporters are lapping them up as per usual.

They arrived Sunday October 20 after a gruelling 84 hrs in their crates and 71 hrs on the road; we saw a video of the night of arrival where Toka had a pronounced limp where she never had a limp before.

Then we were given a few pics the first day, one set of pictures on October 24 followed by nothing of Thika for almost 5 days. The pictures posted on the 29th after even PAWS own supporters were asking questions and showing concern showed a sick and unhealthy Thika, dehydrated emaciated sad and withdrawn. PAWS posted that they were “building up her muscles”. Their supporters commented on how happy she looked? Pointing out how think our elephants appear one person even went so far as to imply that the Toronto Zoo didn’t feed them enough. Unbelievable we assume they have become so accustomed to looking at the obese elephants at PAWS that they don’t know a healthy animal from a sick one. They were surprisingly able to recognize that yes, the elephants were thin, beyond thin – dehydrated emaciated and appearing stressed out and confused.

PAWS Pics one

PAWS pics two

PAWS pics three

PAWS video

When we saw Thika’s photos immediately our red flags went up on high alert. Well technically after almost 5 days of no pictures or video of Thika we were already concerned. We can only use links to photos as most certainly PAWS would be legally outraged by our use of their publicly available photo ops with our elephants. Feel free to review them then refer back to the pictures posted here of the girls before they left the zoo this past October.

Why would Thika need her muscles built up? She is just 33 years old and was in prime health before she left. Her condition had deteriorated over the 5 days not improved.

First day – video

Look at Iringa struggling to walk. Much of the PAWS supporters’ commentary discussed how frail and ill they looked and implied this was their condition at the zoo – if they were this frail and ill at the Toronto Zoo then what self respecting vet would have signed off on their Health for Transport certificates as PAWS vets for hire from the Oakland zoo did? According to a recent PR piece put out by PAWS lawyers they had the “best” elephant import specialist on the payroll…ok all well and good for you to parade to everyone that the transport was all on the up and up (that is of course relative and up for debate) but what the hell does a lawyer have to do with actual transport? And what 71hrs on the road can do to an animal? Unless they are lawyers/zoologists the post reeks of more foundation laying to weather a possible upcoming storm.

What qualifies this lawyer anyway?

“Bickelman, for his part, continues to check on the elephants, keeping tabs on their integration.”

“The elephants were transported in crates and if they had to spend an unexpected six or eight hours at a border, waiting for authorization and to clear customs, it could have been devastating for their overall health.”

Funny, it doesn’t mention that in fact they did spend an extra 4 hours at the border and then another further 3hrs in Chicago where Fish and Game had to track them down to check CITES permits. If this law firm is so hotshot and expert how come they arranged for the transport to enter the USA through the wrong port of entry for the importation of animals?

Well at least they get to have a slice of the Glory Pie and as is the case be one of the elitists who are allowed to see actual elephants in North America. The rest of you poor peons will have to be satisfied with TV or Youtube.

Maybe they could put out another PR piece, one that mentions the elephants They were very, very cold throughout much if the journey not to mention stressed beyond anything else they have been through in their lives. Two of them are not walking right with their legs splayed out and Toka displayed a noticeable limp after transport where she never had one before and another (Thika) has noticeable weight loss and muscle loss not to mention for some reason seems to be kept separate from the rest of the herd she was born into- we have every right to be very concerned.

There are a  few things that stand out in this little PR plug; the first is the term ‘the troubled Toronto Zoo’…does this imply financial trouble or trouble providing world class care for it’s animals as either insinuation would be incorrect and also inappropriate for a law firm to comment on when not actively arguing some kind of legal case. The second is that the lawyer felt the need to be on site when the elephants arrived, why? Just a bonus or some other reason? Thirdly is that it states only 1/2 million dollars were spent by Bob Barker and the rest was covered by PAWS, why then is the media telling the world Mr Barker spent a million bucks? What happened to all that money he promised, 880.00 grande to fly the elephants? The truck company was paid $40k and the crates cost $25k each, where the hell did the rest of that chaching go? Where or who did $825 thousand dollar go?

Then of course there is the ever classy Bob Barker, it must be so nice to just be able to buy elephants for your own personal pleasure while telling the rest of the world they don’t know how to appreciate them properly at a zoo, that we all simply exploit them. Exploitation is relative and up for debate on this matter.


“There were people all around us crying,” Barker says. “ ’Course, in some ways the ones who were crying most were those miserable zoo keepers from Toronto. We ended up laughing, and they ended up crying!” With the cameras rolling, Barker chuckles loudly at his joke.

I have a quote for Bob,

“The first step into pathology is the wilful subordination of the truth for the sake of an ideal.”

Another step into pathology might be when you act like a narcissistic arrogant asshole with no compassion and no ethics.

Because any elephant management professional or welfare activists who actually cared about animals would not have let their egos and arrogance deny the elephants the keepers they knew so well to stay on, even if only for a few days to help alleviate stress and with the adjustment to their new home. But then again these are the same people who separated Thika from her herd and family and left her behind when they burned out their truck brakes speeding to get to the sanctuary in time to have good enough daylight to film and make it to Bob’s press conference on time…because that was so much more important apparently than the health and well being of the elephants.

Here is Thika the summer of 2013, does she look at all like the pictures paws posted of her?

healthy thika

No she does not, why?

Thika was in prime health and condition before she left the Toronto Zoo, you would know this Councillor Berardinetti if you ever actually visited the zoo. Furthermore the vets for hire from the Oakland Zoo reviewed her health documents and signed off on her health for transport, if she had been in the poor condition she appears to be currently at PAWS they should not have signed off on her health for transport – but they did because she was HEALTHY. And why were those health certificates not submitted to Canadian federal agencies such as CFIA? Or to the zoo? Where are those certificates?

Why are you posting commentary like this on social media Councillor Berardinetti? A simple foi of the Toronto elephant’s health records prove your comments to be misleading and we feel misleading with a motive. We will post those full health records in the coming weeks.

1391981_10100688534439487_119805475_n 1414630_10151993304341113_1301536786_n

And FYI regarding this post: Thika reaching over the “scary” electric fence

thika and the fence thika and fence 2

Does Thika look in any way shape or form “afraid” of the electric fences? Nope. Just another shining example of your ignorance. Fruthermore the PAWS keepers are breaking the Full Contact rules and promises made to the zoo as you can see in pictures posted at PAWS Facebook page keepers close enough to the girls to hand feed them.

Thika in the therapy pool? What PAWS likes to call the Jacuzzi despite the fact it has no jets or moving water or water heater, it is just a trough. But why would Thika need this? Look at her! My god what have they done to this elephant? This is what an unnecessary road transport in the name of extremist dogma looks like. (link to pic)


November 7 Thika

November 7 Iringa Toka Note Iringas sagging hind quarters

Here is some great “protected Contact” in action

Happy elephant?

Blind Faith

Sagging skin

October 29 half dead

Thank god for PAWS that their supporters are complete religiously fanatical extremists and idiots because it is beyond any realm of reasoning how any one could look at those pictures and declare that these elephants look health or happy – they look F***** up.

Your propaganda Councillor reeks of aiding and abetting, laying a foundation in preparation for something.

But in preparation for what?

Thika’s death?

Capture Myopathy and other exertion related transport diseases can kill an animal over time. We see Thika going into the therapy pool and we ask ourselves why on earth would she need this? She was perfectly healthy at the Toronto Zoo. Why are YOU and the PAWS supporters not asking for the truth? To protect PAWS public image? What about animal welfare? What about the health and welfare of these elephants you claimed for almost three years to care so much about? The physical appearance of dehydration can be addressed but that will not reverse the affects of this disease.

Certainly Councillor Berardinetti is implying that the Toronto Zoo elephants never enjoyed the simple pleasures of a mud bath was completely ludicrous as pictures will evidence her ignorance but as she is preaching to the blind faith army of PAWS zealots she has a willing audience to boost her already inflated ego.

We think you are a home wrecker Councillor, destroying families in the name of what is best for Michelle and in this case, this time the family you have destroyed is our Toronto Zoo elephants and the family you seek to destroy next, the Toronto Zoo and its supporters have decided to fight back. Your allegiance and alliances to anti zoo organizations who supported and aided in this inhumane transfer and transport and your support of a misleading campaign strategy to convince people our elephants looked like Prisoners of War before they left our zoo and  your infidelity as an elected official to the people of this city and a city owned agency will not be tolerated.

Now as for the simple issue of mud baths, Dear Ms Berardinetti our elephants dug mud holes and took mud baths all the time. Your constant little attacks against our zoo is an act of harassment against a city agency and city staff. You are aiding PAWS in laying the groundwork in case Thika dies, by setting up PAWS supporters to believe that she was not well before she left. Basically, you are a liar. And you are breaking Councillor Code of Conduct rules.

Here are a couple of examples just so you can be better informed before the next time you decide to slander our zoo:


1002441_10151691965441001_608406404_nYou can see that Thikas health deteriorated after she arrived at PAWS. Look at her picture from media reports then compare her pics from just 4 days later where she looks even worse.  October 29 first dayhttp://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/10/25/toronto_zoo_keepers_speak_out_about_trip_to_paws.html how is anyone looking at that these pics and thinking wow she looks great?

She was traumatized and mentally and physically broken after 70hrs of road transport and then to top it off egos and arrogance further put her at risk by having the Toronto keepers kicked out and not allowing them to stay and aid the elephants in their transition. Furthermore they were transported by a transport company with zero experience transporting animals and according to a DOT inspection report which was conducted en route the company Bell Cartage was not even registered or licensed to transport animals at the time they transported the elephants. They had never transported a single animal ever before let alone elephants. So who approved them as a transport company and how did they cross the border without these licences? Who was pulling what strings to make this happen?

Why did the brakes on Thika’s truck burn out? Was it because the trucks were speeding and racing to get to PAWS on the orders from the people running this freak show. We know that Toronto Zoo staff en route with you asked you to slow down out of concern for the elephants safety and you refused. Why were you speeding? To get to PAWS with enough light left to film the glorious arrival and victory and to make it in time for Bob’s press conference? Zoocheck officials and others raced ahead with Toka and Iringa leaving Thika behind…separating her from her herd. No self respecting elephant transport or elephant management company would have sped through the Donner Pass of all places with its history of destroying braking systems let alone with a full load of African elephants already 70hrs into a transport. Imagine the braking inertia powerful enough to blow out those brakes? Imagine now an elephant chained and weak and tired and the force she must have felt being thrust forward to the sights and sounds of screeching and smoking brakes only to see the only family she has ever known drive off into the California sunset leaving her behind?

How could she know she would see them again in just one hours time? And no self respecting elephant management professional would have allowed the herd to be separated, but I guess if they had been going to the National Elephant centre the primary goal on the last of what would have been a short two day road trip would not have been media coverage and celebrity press conferences. Total ignorance which could well mean the difference between life and death. If that was not animal cruelty then what the hell is? The means does not justify the end and most certainly does not justify an end which results in a death.

Yes we read your comments PAWS supporters. You think that the means justifies this end and you are now convinced Thika was ill prior to her departure from our zoo. A simple internet search for pictures of the girls before they left would prove that Thika is now half the elephant she was before departure.575579_10150865330689673_2135514821_n

Yes we know that many of you will never scrutinize what was done to these elephants by forcing that inhumane transport, because you refuse to challenge what you want to believe. PAWS was to supply the zoo with an update immediately after arrival, they did not, why? Because blood work would have shown elephants in distress and if that were the case then PAWS Zoocheck Councillors and Active Environments would be liable under animal cruelty laws. Its all about the optic isn’t it? Lets all pretend that the Toronto Zoo elephants were sick limping dehydrated and unhealthy before they left so if anything now happens to them as a result of transport you have set the groundwork to alleviate yourselves of any blame or legal liability for animal cruelty. And before you go running to Dr. Sofranko from the USDA to backdate Bell Cartage’s USDA registrations and licenses for transport note that the information regarding their status at time of transport has already been acquired. The DOT truck inspection called “sabotage” by Councillor Berardinetti took less than 30 minutes. That so called sabotage could mean a little something called coming back to bite you in the ass one day, not our ass YOURS. The transport YOU promised would take 50hrs took 70. You promised they would be ok Councillor Berardinetti even though you claimed a 30hr trip to Florida by truck would have been inhumane. As an elected official who conspired with animal rights groups to override the zoological opposition to this transfer and transport we hold you personally responsible for the health and welfare of these elephants.

You approved a transport company not legally registered to transport animals and with no experience transporting animals and they were encouraged the drivers to speed at the end of the journey causing the brakes to burn out and you left  Thika behind separating her from her herd and family further traumatizing her, why do you think she would not come out of her crate? She has never been a shy or agitated elephant as you imply on your Facebook pages. You can’t cover this up, and if Thika dies it will the facts vs your version of the facts. Its all documented. And you cannot prove to the thousands upon thousands of people who have actually visited the Toronto Zoo elephants at the zoo that Thika was in any way shape or form in poor health before she left, certainly not the Prisoner Of War elephant we see now. Why were you speeding anyway? Lets remind ourselves, Oh that’s right so you could get to PAWS while there was still daylight left which would make for good filming of your victorious moment. You didn’t want to keep Mr Barker waiting now did you, he is your bank account.

dot 1dot 1

“But if they are ok then why bother, just accept it” people are saying. How do you know Thika is alright? Have we now set a new precedent for the future transport of animals? As long as they appear ok when it’s done it doesn’t matter what happens along the way? And with the information being controlled by an organization notorious for lack of transparency how will anyone ever know the truth? They may be able to fend off the immediate affects of dehydration and tell everyone that she is agitated and nervous by nature and of course this is a result of her “sub-standard” care at the zoo but the affects of transport related stress illnesses can eat away at her muscle tissue for weeks and even months before she finally succumbs collapses and dies. You are all so committed to your dire need to believe in happy endings and that zoo is a dirty word that you are allowing yourselves to selectively ignore the true condition of these elephants, you accept what you would otherwise claim was an inhumane road transport in name of animal welfare and animal liberation dogma. If a zoo or a circus had transported these elephants this way you would have been signing petitions day and night until you collapsed from exhaustion. Little 30 second video clips and planned photo ops is not enough to prove they are ok.

If you really cared about animals you would ask questions and demand answers. We demand answers, we want to know why Zoocheck and PAWS rejected a viable air transport plan which was just recently used to transport Mila from New Zealand to the San Diego zoo, successfully we might add. The same crate modifications, same plane and the same transporter. You rejected this plan and chose an inhumane and unethical road transport, why?  Your arrogant self righteous need to “win” at all costs will not go unpunished and we will not allow you to blame our zoo in any way shape or form for your failure to provide true animal welfare and whatever happens to these elephants as a result of this transport.

You see people if there is one thing we learned about PAWS over the last 2 years is that it is not what you see but rather what you don’t see, and those days where you did not see Thika she was struggling to survive after the transport and being denied the right to humane welfare by having her keepers with her. The damage done to her muscles and tissues will be irreversible. If she has experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as activist groups claims elephants can get how long will she suffer? She never had this before. But you don’t care now do you? You are just happy to have won a victory and you can validate yourselves, you have beaten a zoo even if it means these animals have suffered as a result and that it took lies and corruption to do so as well as an act of animal cruelty which mean death for one or more of them. You have been used and lied to and you don’t mind, better off dead than captive bred? You are not the only voice for animals and our voice on behalf of Thika Toka and Iringa will speak loud and clear to all who will listen.

Pseudo progressive elitists who are self proclaimed as morally superior to all of us and who approved and forced a 70hr transport of our elephants based on that moral superiority, that is what happened. Now Thika could be dying as a result. We are committed to bringing down and exposing these elitists who committed animal cruelty under the false guise of animal welfare in the name of power and greed. I think we can call that exploitation.

The last photo updates (few videos are posted) was November 7, 2013, today is November 19, 2013.  Today, 12 days after the last update some photos https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151616403595895.1073741829.311515825894&type=1

The first 12 photos were taken over a mater of secnds as you can see Iringa holding her right front leg where she suffers some arthritis in an awkward position, I dare you to find a photo at the zoo showing this kind of apparent discomfort. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151674981745895&set=a.10151616403595895.1073741829.311515825894&type=3&theater here is Thika from today’s update. We admit, thank god she appears to have gained back some weight but her appearance is still gaunt, her muscle condition not what  it was prior to her departure from the zoo and the affects of CM over time are not something you can see. It will just happen one day, she will go down and never rise again.

1 Comment

  1. Arlene Brazeau says:

    I read your entire post. I am disgusted! The people of Toronto do not deserve a zoo. My grand daughter and myself stood for 14 and half hours to say good bye to our elephants. No one else seemed to know or care. For the most part the reporters just acted silly. Oh and one very angry, mean looking woman who I guess was part of the “demise of our elephants endeavour”. On Saturday I had the privilege of spending the day in Bowmanville. I can tell you no one will touch their elephant ( or anything else). When the protesters tried to follow Limba, the crowd stood shoulder to shoulder so they go no further with their stupid signs. I spent the entire there and what a difference. We have keepers and volunteers here who are amazing but from there up I have my doubts. We have a board that is a joke. And a city council, well let’s not even go there. I want to help “fix the zoo” but we better start soon before the zip line is strung across the terrain and more amusement park rides are added and it just ceases to be a zoo. Sent from my iPad


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