The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is mourning the death of a gentle giant even though she never set foot on the zoo grounds.
The zoo said Sunday that a 44-year-old African elephant named Joni died on her way to the zoo from the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina.
Joni was heading to Colorado Springs because both zoos believed she would receive better geriatric care at Cheyenne Mountain.
Having an animal die in transport is rare, the zoo said. But the older and larger an animal is, the more complicated the move can be, the zoo said.
A necropsy will be performed by both Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Greenville Zoo veterinary staff to determine Joni’s cause of death.