Cheyenne Mountain Zoo To Welcome New Elephant

Credit: Greenville Zoo Facebook
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Following the death of her companion, an elephant is making a cross country move to live out her golden years.

The Greenville Zoo in South Carolina announced that 44-year-old Joy is moving to Colorado Springs, where she will live in the state of the art elephant exhibit at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Joy will live with four other female African elephants, and will be able to spend her days wallowing in mud, cleaning up under a waterfall and even participating in yoga.

The move comes after the death of Joy's companion, Ladybird, who was euthanized when she was found lying down in the barn, too weak to stand.

On the Greenville Zoo's website, they explained the reason behind Joy's departure.

"Joy is a very social animal and needs the companionship of other elephants. Even though she spent many years here without a companion, in her later years, she had come to find solace and friendship with Ladybird. Now that Ladybird has passed, the Greenville Zoo is no longer in compliance with existing Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) standards.

Zoo director Jeff Bullock says future Association of Zoos and Aquariums standards will require that zoos have a minimum of three elephants because they're so social. He says Greenville's exhibit is too small to house three.

The zoo says they went through an "extensive search" to find a new home for Joy, and selected the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo because its exhibit specifically caters to maturing, non-reproductive elephants.

The website elaborated:

"Caring for mature elephants can be a challenging prospect, and the veterinary staff at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is well equipped to meet the medical needs of older elephants and the ongoing needs that Joy presents."

A date to move Joy hasn't been set.