Monday, September 24, 2012

Update on Denver Zoo's Mimi the Elephant

About a month ago word came down that the Denver Zoo's Mimi the Elephant was dying. We are happy to report that we actually saw Mimi yesterday, Sept. 23. While Mimi looks frail and walks gingerly, we witnessed her happily dusting herself and snatching some grass in a quiet, sunny pasture outside her barn at the zoo's Elephant Passage exhibit. Pachyderm volunteers told us that Mimi essentially is in hospice care, her decline brought about by severe arthritis. In the meantime, Mimi's adoring keepers make sure that all her wants and needs are fulfilled. Here's what else we found out.
  • Mimi is medicated to help ease her pain. "She has good days and bad days," a volunteer reports.
  • Mimi chooses where she hangs out -- inside her stall or her outside in her private lounge depending on the weather and her discomfort level.
  • Mimi chooses what she eats and when -- her favorite indulgences are previously forbidden peanuts and pink Kool Aid, which she likes to both eat and dust herself with. Keepers typically don't feed nuts and sugar, but since Mimi is getting ready to check out, the rules are being loosened. As it should be!
  • Mimi chooses who she spends time with -- if anyone it is her best friend, Dolly the elephant.
Teary-eyed volunteers reported that everyone at the zoo is grateful that Mimi was able to make the recent move to the new Elephant Passage exhibit, and that the 53-year-old Asian elephant enjoyed exploring the spacious grounds before she lost her mobility. "She could go any day now," said one volunteer. "So every day we have with her is a treasure." Kudos to the pachyderm crew for taking such great care of Mimi, a beloved fixture at the Denver Zoo since 1961.

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