06/20/2012 05:43 EDT | Updated 08/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Toronto Elephants Can't Move To California Sanctuary Until Late Summer: Group


TORONTO - Toronto Zoo staff finally got a look Wednesday at some records that had held up the transfer of three elephants to a U.S. sanctuary.

But it's unclear when — or even if — zoo officials will sign off on the plan, which has the support of city council.

Arrangements for the move came to a halt this spring when the PAWS facility would not turn over medical records for its animals.

Both sides met Wednesday to review the documents, but the group representing PAWS in Toronto says the decision won't come just yet.

Even if the plan is approved, Julie Woodyer of Zoocheck Canada says the elephants can't be moved until late summer because of scheduling issues.

Woodyer says there is only one plane in the world that is both large enough to hold the elephants and manned by people with experience in moving live animals.

"So we are limited by its availability," she said in an email.

There have been a number of delays in arranging the transfer, some due to the paperwork involved.

Council voted in late October to send the three elephants to the U.S. facility after groups voiced concern about the animals' welfare.

Animal activist Bob Barker has promised to pay $880,000 for a plane to fly the elephants to their new home.

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