UPDATE: Toronto elephants being moved to California
Newstalk 1010 learned first that plans are being made to move Toronto's three elephants Thursday morning.
City council decided in 2011 to send Iringa, Toka and Thika to the PAWS animal sanctuary in California.
The move has been delayed several times over disagreements on how they should be trasported and whether the sanctuary is the best place for them to be taken.
Matt Berridge, VP of CUPE Local 1600, the union representing the elephant's keepers at the Toronto Zoo, says plans are being made to start the move on Thursday morning as long as the animals co-operate.
A source at the Toronto Zoo has confirmed the imminent move.
But Berridge says that Active Environments, the group hired to move the elephants, has made an "unsettling" demand.
Two Toronto zoo keepers were to tag along for the trip to help with the transition.
Berridge says the keepers have been told they can go as far as the U.S. border, at which point they would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement to continue the rest of the way to California.
"If something went wrong, they don't want to tell people about it. They don't want us to take pictures, they don't want us to take video," he says.
He says the two keepers are so far refusing to sign the agremeent.
"If things do go wrong, we need to have prove of this so this never happens again."
Berridge says that the keepers' opinions have not been valued throughout the process and not being able to travel with the elephants would be "just another kick" to their morale.
"This is an emotional process and going there and seeing them get there safely is the closure of this whole thing," he says.
Newstalk 1010 reached out to Active Environments for confirmation, but phone calls were not returned.