COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - A 44-year-old elephant has died while being transported from a zoo in South Carolina to one in Colorado.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said Sunday a necropsy is planned to determine why the African elephant named Joni died.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reported Monday Joni was being moved from the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina because her longtime companion there died in March.
Elephants need companions for their mental well-being, and the Colorado Springs zoo has four other mature elephants.
A veterinarian and elephant keeper from Greenville were checking on Joni at every stop, and nine zoos along the route were on standby to help in case of an emergency.
The Colorado zoo said Joni died so quickly that nothing could be done for her.
"Our entire zoo family is heartbroken over this profound loss," said Jeff Bullock, Greenville Zoo Director, in a press release on the zoo's website. "Joni will be mourned not only by our community, but also the Colorado Springs community, who were excited to welcome her to their family."