May 22, 2009

Elephant-in-mourning awaits companion

Officials at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo say they have already taken steps to find a new companion for their lone elephant, Christy.

Christy's stepmother, Affie, 39, died last week, ending a 25-year-relationship that began when Christy arrived at the zoo after living in a suburban garage, The Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

Within hours of Affie's death, the zoo began looking for another elephant, says Ken Smith, vice president of animal care.

Christy came to Brookfield in 1984. Records show she was born in the wild in South Africa in 1980 and was captured in 1982.

Smith says an emotional bond between Christy and Affie formed the moment they saw each other.

It was an instant mother-daughter relationship, says Smith.

Christy is currently being kept out of view to give her a chance to mourn the death of her companion.

She is working through it; she is doing OK, says Smith.