All That's Trucking

How Does An Elephant Cross The Continent? In a Truck...Maybe

July 9, 2013

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Had to share this story from our friends at Today's Trucking in Canada:

The price may be right as Bob Barker could be paying up to $800,000 for three elephants to be transported from Toronto to California by truck.

PAWS sanctuary and its Canadian representative Zoocheck Canada are hoping to have Toka, Thika, and Iringa — three elephants at the Toronto Zoo — moved by fall 2013 and are unwilling to wait for a response from National Defence as to whether or not travelling by plane could be an option.

Going by truck, the plan is to have one elephant on one truck and the other two on a separate vehicle. All of the animals would be in crates for the 50-hour journey across the continent.

So where does Bob Barker come in? The former Price is Right host is an avid animal activist and has agreed to pay for the transportation costs to the sanctuary in California.

The trek would pass by seven or eight zoos on the way, just in case any assistance is needed. The elephants will have video cameras in their crates and a mist system is meant to keep the animals cool.

The plane option would take about eight weeks to organize, potentially delaying the move as PAWS and Zoocheck must wait until the fall for National Defence’s decision.

Julie Woodyer of Zoocheck says moving by truck makes the most sense. “It’s the tried and true method,” she told the Toronto Star.

Toronto Zoo CEO John Tracogna must review, provide input and sign off on the transportation plan, but says that the actual moving responsibility comes down to PAWS.

Zoocheck and PAWS need this approval before they can begin scouting out trucking companies and crane operators — for lifting the crated elephants onto the trucks.


  1. 1. Bob Lee [ July 09, 2013 @ 02:17PM ]

    Adult elephants do not fly well: The mix of prolonged heavy sedation and high-altitude has a risk of causing heart damage in adult elephants.

    Max, the Elephant, collapsed and died one day after arriving in South Africa from the Bowensville Zoo in Canada. At 24 years-old, he was to be prepared for wild release at one of South Africa's private wildlife reserves.

    Trucking elephants is an established tradition among circus teamsters. Also well understood, putting elephants on freight trains.

    There is little need for crane operators as long as each elephant's human handler is available to guide the elephant up a ramp and into the cargo area of a truck or a freight car.

    Circus teamsters understand the intricacies of managing and provisioning for an elephant move - and they are probably the best equipped to ensure safe delivery of all three elephants from the Toronto Zoo to PAWS ARK 2000 in California.

  2. 2. Anonymous [ July 10, 2013 @ 06:02PM ]

    The Toronto Zoo elephants are not circus elephants and are not free contact trained. They also have never been moved before (Toka and Iringa were youngsters when they arrived) and are approaching their elder years. To put these elephants on a continent wide journey will put a lot of stress on them which could affect their behaviour during the trip and their health afterwards. Is there anyone in the trucking industry that thinks the elephants will be able to be moved across the continent from Toronto to San Andreas, CA in 50 hours? Is this even possible?


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Deborah Lockridge

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All That's Trucking blog is just that – the editor's take on anything and everything related to trucking, with the help of guest posts from other HDT editors. Author Deborah Lockridge's career as an award-winning trucking journalist started in 1990.


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