Just what the heck was Bob Barker trumpeting about on his visit to Toronto last week?
“Barker, former host of the TV game show The Price is Right, told a news conference earlier Friday that cities like Toronto are too cold and their zoos too small for elephants. “(Toronto Star, April 15th, 2011)
While certainly Bob’s crusade might have merit relative to elephant confinement at some zoos, his message is ‘truncated’. I have a strong feeling Bob hasn’t checked out the facilities for Limba and Sheeba, resident Ellies at the Bowmanville Zoo.
I had the magnificent fortune to spend close to twelve hours with Limba, an oh so gentle 7,800 lb elephant, and her even more gentle keeper, Robert, at Bowmanville Zoo last week. The experience motivated a respect, admiration, and affection for Pachyderms that can only help, not hinder, these magnificent mammals’ cause for anyone who has the luck to meet and spend time with them.
And, I am only one of a couple of hundred humans that Limba educated and endeared herself to that day. For you see, Limba went to a high school in the centre of Toronto last Thursday, and completely melted the ‘cool yo yo bravado’ of multiple hoards of teenagers; not to mention the teachers!
Limba wowed these semi-adults with her size and mere presence; she charmed them with her ability to ‘shake it’; and the excitement she generated in the neighbourhood as she oh so graciously backed out of the mammoth trailer onto the quiet side street was comical.
I had to laugh out loud as I listened to one man on his cell phone shouting, “you’re not going to believe it, but an elephant is standing right in front of my house.”
“Tell them it’s pink,” I whispered at him.
Back to Bob Barker….too bad he had to spend all his time in front of the TV cameras instead of actually experiencing the delight of normally blasé teenagers as they watched Limba crush and crunch whole watermelons that they feed her; not to mention the rides on her back, which, for the privilege, the kids gave a $5.00 donation to their chosen charity.
These young adults, a good many who I am sure knew next to nothing about Pachyderms before that day, came away a lot more knowledgeable and a lot more aware of elephants, in a positive, connected way.
Limba did one hell of a better job furthering the cause of elephants that day than good old Bob.
Make sure the ‘the cause not the price is right,’ Bob before you paint it all with the same brush.