DENVER (CBS4)– Mimi, the beloved Asian elephant at the Denver Zoo, died on Tuesday.
Mimi had been under hospice care as she had recently displayed a natural decline in health over the past few months. She had begun to refuse food and medication. Medical assessments offered nothing more specific than advanced age and arthritis.
On Tuesday Mimi lost the ability to move her trunk and had difficulty standing. Having lost her quality of life, Mimi was humanely euthanized that evening.
“This is never an easy decision, but it was the right one. We watched Mimi closely and saw her condition deteriorate rapidly. We made a promise to her to keep her comfortable and decided it was time to say goodbye. We’ll all miss her very much,” says Vice President for Animal Collections Brian Aucone.
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Mimi was born in India and her age is not known, but she is believed to have been about 54 years old. That made her the seventh oldest elephant in a North American zoo. She came to what was then the City Park Zoo in September 1961.
Mimi was very popular at the Denver Zoo. She recently made her home in the Toyota Elephant Passage with three other Asian elephants, female Dolly and males Groucho and Bodhi.
“This is an incredibly sad loss for Denver Zoo and our community. A member of our family for more than half a century, she was a wonderful, charismatic ambassador to countless zoo guests. Words cannot describe how much she will be missed by us all,” says Denver Zoo President/CEO Craig Piper.
Mimi spent most of her final days in a private outdoor yard behind the scenes.
The average life expectancy for female Asian elephants in zoos is 46.9 years, according to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Asian Elephant Species Plan.