Colorado Springs Zoo loses two endangered animals on same day

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) – Two endangered animals died Thursday at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Zoo officials reported Friday that Cofan, a 19-year-old mountain tapir, and Luna, a 14-year-old Mexican wolf, died the day before. They said the deaths were unrelated: Both animals were elderly and suffered from age-related conditions.

Cofan was one of five mountain tapirs in human care in the country, with the other four living at the Los Angeles Zoo. Zoo officials added that there are only about 2,500 members of the species left in the wild.

Previous attempts by the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to breed the species were unsuccessful, and Cofan’s body was donated to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Luna was part of the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan, which zoo officials say is an effort between multiple organizations to breed Mexican wolves with more genetic diversity. They also said there are only about 196 Mexican wolves left in the wild in the United States.

Zoo officials added that both animals have played important roles in conservation efforts as ambassadors for their species, and those efforts will continue with other animals throughout the zoo despite their loss.

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