COLORADO SPRINGS – Monday morning, a team of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo staff used specialized equipment to successfully assist 33-year-old African elephant Malaika after she was found lying on her side during an overnight check.
The zoo said that if an elephant can’t get up on its own and is down for too long, it can cause stress to internal organs and can be fatal.
According to the zoo, the team responded in the early-morning hours to mobilize a specialized crane-and-hoist system in the barn to help Malaika to her feet. She was unable to stand on her own.
The zoo said the team was made up of more than 20 staff member, vet staff, maintenance and grounds personnel, the Colorado Springs Fire Department Heavy Rescue Team, and the Broadmoor Fire Department.
The team was able to use the hoist system to get Malaika into a position where she could stand on her own. Since then, her care team has been monitoring her for any additional medical concerns.
The Zoo said Malaika has a history of not being able to get back up after laying down. She had to be rescued once before, on Jan. 1, 2018. This is partially due to a life-long issue with bowing and a lack of strength in her back right leg, which is worsening as she ages.