Big South African Elephant Movie Star Passes at a Colorado Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has a facility just for aging female African Elephants, that's where Malaika had been spending her final years. She was a very people-friendly elephant, who loved to trumpet. and knock down trees.
It can't be very often that an elephant that has been in movies lives at a Colorado zoo; hopefully, many people got to see the "movie star" before she passed. She must have been a very strong elephant, as she had been sick for quite a while.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo said an official "farewell" to Malaika on Saturday, May 13, 2023, after living out her last 15 of 37 years at the zoo. She'd been having chronic health issues for many years; it was in early 2022, that the zoo began preparing itself for her passing.
Colorado has a loose relationship with elephants and movies. Bill Murray's 1996 film, "Larger Than Life," shot a few scenes at Johnson's Corner in Loveland, and in 1998, Malaika starred in a family-friendly movie, "Tons of Trouble." as well as other Hollywood movies.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has been taking great care of Malaika within their Wilgruen Elephant Center.
More than 20 cross-discipline Zoo staff members, including animal keepers, veterinary staff, and operations, maintenance and grounds personnel, team up for rescue lift efforts. Some specialize in rope work, others focus on operating the hoist, and others document the entire process so we can learn from it later. The Zoo also depends on Colorado Springs Fire Department’s Heavy Rescue Team for supplemental support. The Heavy Rescue Team receives on-site elephant rescue training in advance of an emergency, and they’re always on stand-by.
Rest in peace, Malaika.