COLORADO SPRINGS — Malaika, one in every of six beloved feminine African elephants at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (CMZ), appears to be on the rebound following a number of scary weeks stuffed with well being issues.
On the finish of February, Malaika started struggling with mobility and skilled extreme modifications in her urge for food. After days of shut monitoring and coverings, zookeepers say she started to bounce back. Since that point, she has continued making enhancements.
Regardless of Malaika’s optimistic progress, zookeepers say her well being issues have resulted in points that may probably keep with her for the remainder of her life. For instance, Malaika has bowing and lack of energy in her proper rear leg, which her keepers anticipate to worsen as she ages.
“Some people are surprised to hear that our elephants deal with some kind of ailment, from time to time, but that’s why they’re here with us,” stated Jason Bredahl, Encounter Africa animal care supervisor. “Our elephant center was designed specifically to care for aging female elephants and to help them with physical challenges as they age. Our keepers and veterinary staff are some of the most knowledgeable elephant experts in the profession.”
Malaika is one in every of six “Golden Girls” in Encounter Africa, alongside with Missy, Kimba, Fortunate, Jambo and LouLou. Though they’re all African elephants, each has a singular character and distinguishable bodily options.
In keeping with CMZ, Malaika, the youngest of the herd, has skilled essentially the most life-threatening points and Missy, the eldest, has been in comparatively good well being for her age.
“There’s quite a range in their ages, and it’s not necessarily true that the older elephants need more specialized care than their younger friends do,” Bredahl stated. “Over time, some have experienced weak limbs or digestive issues, some have arthritis, some have issues with their feet or tusks, and some have all of the above. We work to proactively lessen the impact of expected age-related issues and address anything else that pops up along the way.”
CMZ describes its Wilgruen Elephant Heart as a kind of retirement group for elder elephants. Components of the specialised elephant heart embrace rubberized flooring, pure substrate all through a lot of the barn, surveillance that enables the group to test on the women in a single day, and areas with actions designed to maintain them shifting.
Keepers observe every elephant’s urge for food, their mobility and curiosity in coaching, for instance, alongside with particular person indicators that reveal progress or declines in particular illnesses, like a stiff knee or ongoing digestive subject. The group evaluations every elephant’s knowledge recurrently, and makes changes to their setting, remedies or routines with hopes to take care of their high quality of life.
“With our experience and the support of our colleagues, our Golden Girls are in great hands here,” Bredahl stated. “They’re living their best lives with us.”