By SANDY COHEN, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Three elephants will travel from the Toronto Zoo to a sanctuary in California aboard a private plane thanks to longtime animal activist Bob Barker.
The 88-year-old TV icon offered to fund the $880,000 flight after learning that one of the elephants wasn't well enough to withstand the long trip by truck, Barker spokesman Henri Bollinger said Friday.
He said the Toronto Zoo agreed to move Thika, Iringa and Toka to the Performing Animals Welfare Society elephant sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif., in the Sierra foothills southeast of Sacramento, but that one of the animals suffers from "a serious foot problem."
Barker said the elephants "have suffered so much for so long and now they have an opportunity to live the rest of their lives at what has been described as 'elephant paradise.' To think that one of them might not survive the trip in a truck touched my heart and purse strings."
The animals will travel in crates aboard a Russian cargo jet.
Barker, who hosted "The Price Is Right" for decades before retiring in 2008, is a longtime animal activist who closed the game show each day by reminding viewers to have their pets spayed or neutered. He has donated millions of dollars to various animal welfare efforts and lobbied Congress for a bill that would prevent circuses from using elephants.