LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former "The Price is Right" host Bob Barker is spending $880,000 to fly three elephants to sunny California in style aboard a private cargo plane.
Barker agreed to foot the bill to move Thika, Iringa and Toka to PAWS Sanctuary in San Andreas, California from the Toronto Zoo after growing concerned that Canada's chilly climate was unsuitable for them. In the wild, elephants live in warmer weather regions such as Africa and the Indian subcontinent.
"These three elephants have suffered so much for so long and now they have an opportunity to live the rest of their lives at what has been described as ‘elephant paradise,'" Barker, 88, said in a statement on Friday.
A representative from the Toronto Zoo was not immediately available for comment. Thika, Iringa and Toka are the zoo's last remaining elephants.
The PAWS Sanctuary believes that since one of the elephants has a foot problem, it might not survive a truck trip and so the best approach would be to fly the animals to California, according to a spokesman for Barker.
"To think that one of them might not survive the trip in a truck touched my heart and purse strings," Barker said.
A Russian-built cargo plane has been chosen for the mission, which is due to take place before May 15.
Veteran entertainer Barker hosted game show "The Price Is Right" from 1972 to 2007. An animal lover, he often ended the show by urging viewers to have their pets spayed or neutered.
(Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Paul Thomasch)