The AZA threatened to remove the zoo’s membership because PAWS Sanctuary, where the elephants are headed, is not AZA accredited.
Should the zoo lose its membership, it will be unable to get animals from other zoos on loan. There are currently 175 animals on loan to the Toronto Zoo.
“The quality and standards of the zoo are not dependant on a accreditation by a third party, but rather by the quality of staff, their commitment, dedication and their care of the animals,” board member Mark Grimes said in a statement to the Toronto Observer.
The three elephants, Toka, Thika, and Iringa, are being trained for the big move down south, which is slated to happen by the end of April 2012.
An October decision sealed the pachyderms’ fate, to much controversy. Proponents say that since the city owns the zoo, council should be free to make executive decisions.
Others, like councillor and board member Gloria Lindsay Luby, say that city council usurped the board’s authority.
Losing accreditation could also impact the proposed exchange with China to acquire pandas.