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Elderly elephant dies while traveling to Colorado Springs zoo

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(Credit: Greenville Zoo)

(Credit: Greenville Zoo)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A 44-year-old African elephant named Joni died Sunday while en route to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs.

Joni died on her way to the zoo from the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina, KRDO reported. The animal was reportedly being transferred because both zoos believed she would receive better geriatric care at Cheyenne Mountain.

Having an animal die in transport is rare, the zoo said. But the older and larger an animal is, the more complicated a major move can be, the zoo said.

A necropsy will be performed by both Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Greenville Zoo veterinary staff to determine Joni’s cause of death.


  • Sarah

    The elephant’s name was actually, Joy. She was much beloved at the Greenville Zoo and by the Greenville community. So sad.

  • Robert Gift

    What a shock being transported so far. Did she miss her familiar home?
    Should rethink rehoming geriatric animals. Let them die at home. I hope to do the same.

  • Sara

    Yeah, there’s nothing like moving an elderly elephant from a warm climate to a colder one with no oxygen to make it thrive and prosper. She belonged in that retirement reserve in Tennessee. By the way, 45 is not a great age for an elephant. Boon Lott Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand had a rescued matriarch who died at age 80, and one year ago they rescued a 65-year-old (who was still working) on a 14-hour drive in an open truck. Perhaps our “experts” could rely on people with real knowledge?

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