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It Is Too Hot For African Elephants… In Canada

Three elephants were supposed to fly from Toronto the California at the end of next week, but the weather is just too hot for these African animals.

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An elephant at the Toronto Zoo. Photo: Blake Clinkard

Three female African elephants named Iringa, Toka, and Thika live at the Toronto Zoo. Last summer, the Zoo’s board decided the trio would be moved to greener pastures, settling on the Performing Animal Welfare Society‘s 80-acre sanctuary in California.

The 42, 41, and 30 year old elephants were set to move at the end of next week, but plans were postponed at the last minute. According to the CBC, Canada in the summer is just too hot for these African elephants, whose natural range consists of large parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

“We’re in the middle of a heat wave and because the crates are made of steel and there’s some radiant heat potentially. Although the aircraft itself is temperature controlled, you know when the animals are on the tarmac and there’s clearance and so on that has to go on, just for safety sake we’ve decided that we’re going to look at September,” said Julie Woodyer of Zoocheck Canada.

Then again, even if the elephants were to make it to the runway for their trip down south, there’s no guarantee their plane would be able to take flight. At Reagan National Airport in Washington DC a few weeks ago, the runway got so hot that an airplane’s tires got stuck in the tarmac.

 

More from Smithsonian.com:

14 Fun Facts About Elephants

U.S. Faces Worst Drought Since 1956

 

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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