Animal welfare group Peta mourns loss of Mali
MANILA, Philippines — Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) on Wednesday expressed grief over the death of Manila Zoo’s lone and adored resident elephant, Mali.
“We’re so sorry, Mali. You deserved better,” Peta said in a Facebook post.
The group said it previously warned zoo and city officials of Mali’s apparent foot problems, which, it noted, was the “leading cause of death in captive elephants.”
Mali’s conditions inside Manila Zoo had come under fire from the animal rights group, which said that such living situations were torturous for female elephants.
“Because of indifference and greed, Mali the elephant died the same way she had lived for nearly 50 years: alone in a concrete pen at the Manila Zoo,” the group said in a statement
“The Manila Zoo and the city of Manila sentenced Mali to decades of solitary confinement,” it added.
In 2012, Peta started a campaign to move the elephant to a sanctuary in Thailand and dubbed her “one of the world’s saddest elephants.”
The elephant died on Tuesday afternoon (November 28) at age 43, possibly due to heart failure, according to Manila Zoo’s chief veterinarian Dr. Heinrich Patrick Peña-Domingo.
Upon learning about what may have caused Mali’s death, the animal rights group decried the lack of proper veterinary care for the elephant and demanded accountability from those who blocked its transfer from the zoo.
“Mali was never provided with routine veterinary care – something she would have been given at the sanctuary Peta was prepared to transfer her to,” the group said.
”Every person who denied her veterinary care and blocked her transfer to a sanctuary should be held accountable for their part in allowing Mali’s suffering,” it added.
Mali was brought to the Philippines from Sri Lanka in 1977. She stayed inside an enclosure since.
On Wednesday (November 29), Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna said they plan to replace Mali with another elephant from Sri Lanka – a statement that Peta assailed, claiming that the elephant had suffered “mental abuse” during its stay at the Manila Zoo.
“Peta is calling on the government of Sri Lanka to halt possible plans to transfer another elephant to the Manila Zoo. Sentencing another elephant to the decades of mental abuse that Mali endured shows a lack of even basic understanding of an elephant’s needs,” the group warned.