COLORADO SPRINGS – The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo provided an update on the health status of their 36-year-old elephant Malaika on Sunday.
The Zoo’s Staff says “it continues to be a roller coaster,” but believes her health is improving.
Last week keepers noted she was mentally distant and disengaged, and her appetite had decreased. Her staff prepared for the worst.
Then on Saturday morning, she looked a little better. She greeted her keepers in the morning and even engaged in ‘elephant yoga’ training, but she still lacked an appetite. On Saturday night, she ate more than she has any other night since last week. She ate some produce and about six flakes of hay. To put that into perspective, she would normally eat around 16 flakes of hay, and up to 80 pounds of produce, hay cubes, and grain.
On Sunday morning She responded well when her keepers gave her a bath. She participated in the training, then spent about an hour dusting herself and rubbing against a boulder and a big log in her space – a good sign she’s feeling a little more energetic. Her team says she looked better this morning than she has in a week.
Still, they remain cautiously optimistic, after how drastically her condition can change in a matter of hours last week.
Keepers say normally Malaika, who came to CMZoo in 2008, loves to knock down trees and pick up giant logs to throw them across the yard. She also loves making noise. If you’ve been lucky enough to hear an elephant trumpeting during a visit, there’s a good chance it was Malaika.
“Malaika loves people, and Malaika is easy to love,” said Annie Dinwiddie, senior elephant keeper. “She has social opportunities with the other elephants, but she usually chooses to be close to us keepers. It’s like she has adopted us as her own herd, and she’s really tuned into us.”
The Zoo says they will continue monitoring Malaika closely.