Fire department helps an elephant get to her feet

Fire department helps an elephant get to her feet (Photo: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo)

WASHINGTON (SBG) — Firefighters stepped in Monday to save the life of an elephant at a zoo in Colorado.

Malaika, a 33-year-old African elephant at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, has a history of not being able to get up on her own and was found laying on her side during an overnight check.

"If an elephant can’t get up on its own and is down for too long, it can cause stress to its internal organs and can be fatal," the zoo posted on Facebook. More than 20 people were enlisted to help her to her feet, including her keepers, veterinary staff, grounds personnel, The Colorado Springs Fire Department Heavy Rescue team, and the Broadmoor Fire Department.

While some elephants have no issues standing up, the zoo said Malaika has a history of a weak back leg and often rests leaning on something for support. The zoo said her leg appeared to give out during her sleep, resulting in her having to lay on her side.

The team used a special crane-and-hoist system to help Malaika into a position where she could stand on her own. The staff performs "down elephant" drills to prepare for situations like this one so that they can step in to successfully save their animals' lives.

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