“Keeping fingers crossed & saying prayers for poor Mali. I hope she soon gets to live as an elephant should, surrounded by others. Elephants do not thrive in a zoo environment, nothing is better for an elephant or any wild elephant to be & stay wild; just as God intended. Watch a video of Mali at the end of this post”

  • Mali the elephant is the only one of her kind in the Philippines
  • She has spent the last 33 years alone in a concrete pen at Manila Zoo
  • Campaigners want to send the elderly elephant to a sanctuary in Thailand

Campaigners are calling on the Filipino government to free the country’s only elephant and allow her to be sent to Thailand to spend her final years among her own kin after three decades of solitude.

Mali the elephant has spent 35 years in a barren concrete pen at the Manila Zoo without any inter-species contact and only a small pool to entertain her.

A celebrity backed PETA campaign is now demanding that the elderly elephant’s years of loneliness come to an end and that she is reunited with other elephants at a sanctuary in Thailand.

On my own: Mali is the only elephant in the Philippines and has been living alone for 33 years

Mali was torn from her mother in Sri Lanka at the age of three and sent to the Philippines as a gift to then-president Ferdinand Marcos in 1977.

She has since spent her days in loneliness and boredom in the small enclosure at the zoo in the capital and is reportedly suffering from a number of ailments as a result of her captivity and age.

Old and lonely: Mali in the barren concrete pen which has been her home since 1977 when she was sent to the Philippines from Sri Lanka aged 3

Efforts to ‘deport’ Mali have increased in recent weeks as more groups have joined the campaign, backed by several celebrities including film diva Brigitte Bardot, artist Morrissey and Nobel laureate J.M Coetzee.

They propose the lonely lady be sent to The Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang province, to be with an estimated 50 elephants in a forest setting.

Open wide: Mali is examined by veterinarians brought in by campaigners to establish if the 38-year-old is well enough to travel to the Thai sanctuary.

Vets found that the elderly elephant suffers from severe depression, as a result of her years of isolation, and also have foot problems which pose a grave risk to her physical health.

Former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, the convenor of campaign group Pilipinas Ecowarriors, said in a statement to local on Tuesday: ‘Assuming Mali is fit to make the trip to Thailand, she would be better off in a designated sanctuary, rather than kept in a zoo here.

Representatives from PETA Asia flew in a specialist elephant physician who concluded that her isolation is causing Mali ‘intense mental suffering’ and that her physical health is at risk as a result of her severe foot problems.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino personally entered the debate last week. He issued orders to the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau and the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry to see if Mali could even travel.

The groups have begun asking about animal quarantine in Thailand, and whether Mali could even make the trip.

A spokesman for PETA in London said: ‘PETA Asia has been campaigning for an end to Mali’s suffering, but has been met with resistance at every step of the way.

‘After receiving a letter from famed musician Morrissey, Philippines President Benigno Aquino III issued a directive stating that Mali’s health should be evaluated and she should be considered for transfer to a sanctuary.

‘Following this ground-breaking directive, PETA Asia flew in elephant expert Dr Henry Melvyn Richardson to examine Mali.

‘Dr Richardson’s report indicates that Mali’s confinement to a concrete enclosure has led to severe foot problems – the leading cause of death among captive elephants.

Not only is Mali’s physical health at risk if she continues to stay at an institution that lacks the resources and knowledge to care for her properly but her isolation from other elephants is causing her intense mental suffering.’

Although Asian elephants can live to be up to 60-70 years in freedom, zoo animals rarely pass 20 years of age due to stress, obesity and lack of exercise.

PETA Asia say Mali needs to be retired ‘without delay’ and reports that the The Thai Elephant Conservation Centre have offered a place for Mali as soon as the Filipino government agree on her release.

PETA use this video to emphasise the repetition of Mali’s life

Published on 24 Jan 2013

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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2267223/Mali-Manila-Zoo-Campaigners-demand-worlds-loneliest-elephant-sent-Thailand-friends.html#ixzz2JhxLqELs
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