'Please try to stand': Affie the elephant's final hours
As opponents of keeping elephants in zoos continue debating in our blog comments section with supporters of Brookfield Zoo, new details are emerging about the recent death of Affie the elephant. Per William Mullen's account:
"Affie, who would have turned 40 next month, was geriatric by elephant standards but had shown no serious health problems. When her day keepers arrived at 8 a.m. last Friday, they found her on her side, unable to get to her feet."
Christy, the zoo's other elephant, who was taken in by Brookfield in 1982 from a brainiac suburbanite who was keeping her and another pachyderm in his garage (!), stepped aside so her old pal could get medical attention.
"As the vets worked frantically, the keeper who had picked up Christy from the suburban garage 25 years ago knelt in front of the ailing Affie, putting his hands on her face and pleading with her.
"'Affie,' the keeper told the downed animal, according to Smith, 'you’ve got to help us. Please try to stand. We’re trying to help you.'
"Christy watched as Affie slipped away. Afterward Christy was let back into the enclosure to be with the body for about an hour."
Brookfield plans to give Christy a lot of company in the future as it brings in up to seven more elephants, including a male for breeding purposes.
Here's the zoo's calendar listing for the Affie birthday celebration that won't be taking place next month after all:
"Who has GIGANTIC, fan-like ears, is one of the largest land mammals in the world, and is turning 40 years old? The answer is Affie—one of Brookfield Zoo’s African elephants—and everyone is invited to her ENORMOUS birthday celebration... in front of the pachyderm yard.
"Guests can join zookeepers in singing 'Happy Birthday' to the guest of honor at her enlarged outdoor exhibit and then watch as Affie devours a HUGE birthday cake made of bales of hay topped with carrots, bananas, apples, watermelon, and cantaloupes.
"Afterwards, enjoy a performance of The Elephant's Child. Don't forget to sign a gigantic birthday card for Affie and discover fun, MAMMOTH-size facts about elephants from the zoo’s volunteer educators, too!"