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End Mali’s suffering, get her out of the zoo

/ 12:04 AM June 09, 2014

I am a college student from the United States visiting the Philippines for the first time. Upon arriving here, I heard a lot about an elephant named Mali. I decided last June 5 to check her out and see what has made her a local celebrity.

Right after I entered the Manila Zoo, I was greeted with a concrete enclosure about the size of the condo in Makati where I’m staying. I was appalled at the fact that some poor animal was living in such unnatural conditions; but I felt so much worse when I realized this was the “home” of Mali. The conditions were horrendous. Mali didn’t appear to have access to any fresh water and her droppings were scattered about. And where were the trees and dirt that elephants have in the wild? Nowhere in Mali’s enclosure.

Mali herself looked miserable, not the happy elephant everyone described. Her toes were severely cracked that made all the ingrown I ever had instantly miniscule. Mali kept shifting her weight off her feet—if that gives you any idea of how much pain she is in. People threw food at her like she was supposed to perform a trick or something—truly, truly sad.


As soon as I got home, I looked for ways to get help for Mali and that’s when I read about Peta Asia-Pacific’s campaign. The group’s goal is to get Mali the life she deserves by transferring her to a sanctuary in Thailand. Mali needs medical care and space that zoo officials in the Philippines cannot provide. Imagine trying to care for a lion or tiger in your home. You  wouldn’t—or would you? And you don’t have the knowledge or the means to provide those animals the best life they can live, which exactly is the case of Mali.

Philippines, I urge you to please put your pride and personal thoughts aside, and think about the suffering Mali is facing. Mali is the “real elephant in the room” and it is time for her to be free.

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