Human Interest

Mali, the Philippines’ lone elephant, dies at Manila Zoo

Manila, Nov 29 (EFE).- The Philippines’ lone elephant Mali has died at about 43 years of age after spending more than four decades in Manila Zoo, authorities said Wednesday.

Mali was brought to the Philippines from Sri Lanka in 1981 as a gift to then-First Lady Imelda Marcos.

Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna announced at a press conference on Wednesday that Mali, also known as Vishwamali, died on Tuesday afternoon, adding that the pachyderm had been a source of joy for children and adults for decades.

A necropsy showed the elephant had pancreatic cancer, as well as possible congestive heart failure and issues in various organs such as the kidneys, liver and uterus, Manila Zoo’s chief veterinarian Heinrich Patrick Peña-Domingo said at the same press conference, according to local media.

For years, activists including at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had denounced the profound loneliness and isolation of the elephant and the precariousness in which she lived.

“The world mourns Mali, the elephant who spent decades alone at the Manila Zoo,” PETA wrote Wednesday on X. “PETA is calling on the government of Sri Lanka (…) to halt possible plans to transfer another elephant to the Manila Zoo.”

The elephant was shipped to the zoo by the Sri Lankan government in 1981 when she was around 11 months old. Initially there was another elephant in residence, Shiba, but she died a few years later, leaving Mali alone.

More than 10 years ago, PETA began a campaign for Mali to be transferred to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, a demand that was backed by personalities such as Paul McCartney, Pamela Anderson, Morrisey, J.M. Coetzee and Dr. Jane Goodall.

According to PETA, Mali lived in a small space with a concrete floor, when elephants are used to living in areas of between 25,000 and 60,000 hectares.

However, the Philippine authorities always defended that the elephant was lovingly cared for in the zoo and that she could not adapt to living with other pachyderms. EFE


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