Alisa Manzelli, Global Animal
Since being torn from her family at age three, Mali the elephant has spent 35 lonely years living in a concrete pen as the only captive elephant in the Philippines.
In 1974, the nursing baby was taken from her herd in Sri Lanka and was sent to Manila as a gift to then-President Ferdinand Marcos.
She has since lived three decades of her life at the Manila Zoo surrounded by iron bars, with only a small pool for entertainment and relief from the blistering heat.
Condemned to a life of misery in isolation from other elephants, Mali suffers from severe depression and damage to her feet—a leading cause of death for captive elephants.
“Mali paces her small area incessantly or stands in one spot with her trunk to the ground. Mali has reportedly walked to the edge of her enclosure, reached out her foot in the hope of going farther, and even after feeling empty space, stepped back and repeated this movement, evidence of her boredom, loneliness, and frustration,” PETA writes.
The statement adds, “In their natural habitats, Asian elephants have homes ranges that are between 25,000 and 60,000 hectares, but the entire Manila Zoo measures only 5.5 hectares. Even if Mali’s enclosure were doubled or tripled in size, it would still be completely inadequate.”
Philippines’ President Benigno Aquino has ordered Mali to be transferred to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre where she can be offered thousands of acres to roam, ponds, fresh vegetation, and most importantly, the company of 14 other elephants.
However, the President is also stalling PETA Asia’s efforts to cover the entire cost of the transfer by requiring that Mali first receive an evaluation of her health that ensures she is well enough to travel.
In addition, PETA claims the Manila Zoo is doing its best to block the move, claiming animal rights activists should respect their decision to keep Mali while insisting that she is well cared for.
Activists insist that Mali’s transfer not be delayed any longer. Demand a better future for “the world’s loneliest elephant.” Sign the petition so this animal doesn’t die under terrible conditions.