R.I.P. Tara

Matriarch dies at forty-one, leaving the Toronto Zoo with three elephants — the minimum recommended by the American Association of zoos and aquariums.

Eric Cole, supervisor of the Toronto Zoo’s Savannah section, said it’s too early to guess about the elephant program’s future.

“We wouldn’t even think about that right now. When we’ve lost an elephant, obviously we reassess, and we look at the remaining elephants and how the dynamic plays out,” a sombre Mr. Cole said.

However, Julie Woodyer, a former OSPCA investigator who is now campaigns director for the watchdog Zoo Check Canada, said Toronto’s northern climate is ill-suited for elephants despite the Toronto Zoo’s mixed indoor-outdoor enclosure.

“This is the thing about this – 40 [years old] is not old for an elephant, if that elephant were to live in the wild or even a large enclosure in a southern climate,” Ms. Woodyer said.

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