Help Free Mali the Elephant


Target: Richard Gower, head of Kingsleigh Primary School

Goal: Thank a 6th grade class for bringing global awareness to the tragic life of a captive elephant

A video made by students at Kingsleigh Primary School in England has made headlines around the world and is now being featured on the website for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The children’s goal is simple: to save an elephant that has been confined to a small pen at a Manila zoo for 35 years. The work these kids have done and the compassion they have not only exemplified, but also cultivated, is incredible and deserves our gratitude.

Mali the elephant was taken from her habitat in Sri Lanka as a baby in 1974, and has spent 35 years in a small concrete pen in Manila Zoo. She remains the only captive elephant in the Philippines and, because of her isolation and inability to interact with other elephants, suffers from a variety of complex medical and mental health issues. Mali is so lonely that she constantly holds her own tail. Young elephants will hold the tails of their mothers for security.

In the video, the children speak as though they are Mali, telling her story and describing how she was taken from her home and endured decades of torture and suffering. Descriptions include, “The more I move, the more I am beaten, even though I have done nothing wrong. With tears in my eyes I lay in pain, as the days drag on.” Finally, the children ask “Are you going to leave her there?” while showing a haunting image of Mali holding her own tail.

Holly Graff, a teacher at the school, said, “The children are so excited to see a real outcome from their writing. It shows the children that their writing can have power and that they should stand up for things they feel strongly about.” PETA has taken up the issue and is working to have Mali transferred to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand where she can spend the rest of her life with other elephants.

Please take a moment to sign the petition below and not only thank the students at Kingsleigh Primary School for this unbelievable effort, but also show your support for their cause and help set Mali free.


Dear Richard Gower,

The 6th grade class at Kingsleigh Primary School has made headlines all over the world for a recent video they created to bring awareness to the plight of a captive elephant named Mali. Awareness they sought and awareness they received. PETA, perhaps the largest animal welfare group in the world, is even working to have Mali moved to a sanctuary in Thailand.

Thanks to your students, a life on the other side of the world may have a second chance. The compassion these children have not only demonstrated, but exemplified, is something to be admired.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: warriorwoman531 via Flickr

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  1. Thank you children of Kingsleigh School for bringing the plight of poor Mali to the attention of the world. I am proud of you all and hope that as you grow you will continue to help those creatures who have no voice.

  2. The fact that these marvelous animals are being slaughtered and abused, world-wide, it is so wonderful and rare, to have young students, together with a compassionate teacher, attempt to save the life of a pathetically sad and suffering elephant. As usual, I am in disbelief and saddened that anyone could abuse an animal like this, especially such an intelligent and social one.
    I commend the students, the teacher and the parents who helped these children understand and care about our magnificent wildlife.

  3. Karen Remnant says:

    What great bunch of kids. Gives us hope for the future!

  4. Patricia Dumais says:

    This is a great — an animal version of Amnesty International! Perhaps this will start a trend — if enough attention is brought to the plight of animals in cruel confinement, many will be released or transferred to more suitable habitats. Bravo kids!

  5. I just wanted to add that I just viewed the video of Mali, and the poor creature lives in a small cement enclosure with painted landscape walls–as if that means anything. It looks like zoos used to fifty years ago! He just sadly paces back and forth, and does not look physically healthy–let alone how psychologically damaged he must be!
    Sign PETA’s petition, too.

  6. Rosemarie Roberts says:

    These children have compassion, and understand the horror and pain of this animal. Let Mali go to a sanctuary to have a better rest of her life.

  7. WOW!!!!
    That is so awesome you are fantastic children!!!
    Thanks for showing so much love and compassion to other living beings.
    With great kids like you, the future on planet earth will be filled with great oppertunities and love!!!
    I have great respect for you!!!
    Its soooo wonderfull, keep up the great work!!

    Bless beloved Mali may she find eternal happiness

  8. Fausto Orazi says:

    La causa è delle maledette religioni bibliche che considerano gli animali esseri indegni da uccidere, solo l’uomo sa amare e far del bene. E’ esattamente il contrario. Occorre eliminare tutte le religioni del mondo, sono pura follia. L’etica è laica e degli uomini sapienti, pochissimi finora.

  9. The students and the teacher are truly amazing and such an inspiration! The poor elephant it has literally driven me to flooding tears. Thank you for being everyday heroes and everyone please pray for poor Mali may she finally find the peace she has been deprived from and deserved all along

  10. This is so totally cruel and shows the brain capacity of the idiots who do this. A certain section of the human race destroys everything in their path, not appreciating how beautiful any animal is. Mali has to be released into a safe and secure environment where she will be in happiness and freedom. Bless her!!!

  11. In viewing video regarding Mali, it is said that she was introduced to 2 other elephants who ostracized her. If Mali has been in isolation for such a long time, how could the zoo even expect Mali to socialize w/her own kind? Would they expect a human, forced into isolation, be able to understand how to socialize w/its own kind? Did the zoo provide a proper environment for socialization to begin with? A zookeeper has the gall to suggest because Mali is so old, it would be better to keep her at their zoo vs. transport to Thailand because she “might not survive the trip”, and, being so old, Mali is getting closer to her death that relocating her is pointless. Really? Elephant sanctuaries could possibly refute all of Manila Zoo’s claims, and prove even, that despite years of isolation and forced to walk on concrete instead of soil/dirt, a geriatric elephant can be re-introduced to a herd and live out her last years in relative comfort. The Manilla Zoo needs to grow up and own up to its own contribution to animal cruelty in the case of Mali. It needs to do the right thing in letting her live out her life free of concrete floors and isolation from her own kind. The Manilla Zoo needs to do the right thing and support Mali’s tx an Elephant Sanctuary.

  12. Ravinder singh says:

    Children are blessing for this elephant. May god bless this elephant and the children for having a noble and kind heart.

  13. Thank you so much for your wonderful help, it is fantastic. I do hope Mali us free soon, and that these people are never able too keep another elephant. The world needs more people like you. ☺

  14. Camille Monsieur says:

    An animalRIGHTS movement is something completely different from an animalWELFARE movement!!!!! Please correct this.

  15. Aimee Cortez says:

    I would like to thank those awesome kids for showing great concern to an amazing creature! I live in Manila and various groups have also been fighting for her freedom for a very long time. I just hate hearing about abused elephants! They do not deserve a single bit of any of this!

  16. This helpless poor animal has been imprisoned in that tiny area in the zoo of Manila, Philipines for the longest time. No matter what ever the way people explains to these ruthless zoo owners, they are so greedy for the money & the profit, never think of the Elephants life and her happiness. Such evil, barbaric people should never be given any kind of animal from any where to stay in that zoo. All those god’s curses are pouring over having earth quakes, massive floods & people are dying like flies, then they are wondering what is happening to these people in that land. Why all these nasty miserable events are taking place. Stop you greedy peoples crave for having such majestic, beautiful God’s creatures under the pains & sufferings. Allow them to stay with the freedom which they were born to live in. Show the world that you care about these God’s creations. Until then yes you people will be showered with curses from the entire world. Do the right things. You love your life. So does this Mali with her own life as well. Let her go to a sanctuary to live free & happy.

  17. Ruhi Thallon says:

    When will this petition be presented? From the dates of the comments it looks like it has been going for a year & a half. Mali needs help NOW not in another year and a half. PLEASE ForceChange, get this presented and let’s get her out of her misery. 27978 Signatures not enough?

  18. Ruhi Thallon says:

    Sorry, I read this as the petition to go. Has a petition been presented and what is the update?

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