Speak Up for Elephant Confined Alone in Filipino Zoo

Target: Dr. Donald Manalastas, Chief Veterinarian of Manila Zoo

Goal: Urge authorities at Manila Zoo to transfer Mali the elephant to an elephant sanctuary.

Mali is a 38-year-old female elephant. She has been living alone in a half-acre enclosure at the Manila Zoo since she was a baby and is now suffering serious health problems as a result of her living situation. Please ask zoo authorities to do the right thing and transfer Mali to an elephant sanctuary.

Elephants are herd animals. Females remain with their families their entire lives, and males stay with their families until adolescence. Mali was taken away from her family when she was still nursing and was placed in the Manila Zoo, where she has not seen another elephant for over three-and-a-half decades. She spends her days alone in a half-acre enclosure, despite the fact that “no zoo association approves of keeping a female elephant alone,” and experts all over the world have decried the practice.

Mali is also facing numerous health issues, largely a result of the condition in which she lives at the zoo. In all the years she has been at the Manila Zoo, Mali has never received simple blood work. She is also suffering from foot problems, an issue that could have been avoided had the zoo provided preventative foot care, something People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claims is standard procedure at every other reputable zoo around the world.

PETA, along with over 40 other animal welfare advocacy groups, is demanding that the zoo move Mali to an elephant sanctuary where she will be able to interact with other elephants over a range of 500 acres under the supervision of elephant experts. Authorities at the Manila Zoo have expressed concerns that Mali is too old to move and may not survive the trip, but PETA has pointed out that older elephants have been safely transported in the past. Aside from this, elephant expert Dr. Henry Richardson has said that Mali may already be suffering from cracked nails and foot pads, a potentially life-threatening condition that is a direct result of her living situation at the zoo.

Add your voice to the thousands of others calling for Mali’s release. Sign the petition and tell the Manila Zoo to move Mali to a sanctuary.


Dear Dr. Manalastas,

For 38 years, Mali the elephant has lived alone in the Manila Zoo. And while the zoo staff has clearly done its utmost to care for Mali and make her life a comfortable, fulfilling one, the time has come for a change. Mali has not seen another elephant in over 35 years, a fact that runs counter to elephants’ most basic natural experiences. Human care and companionship cannot replace the companionship of other elephants. I urge you to do what is best for Mali and transfer her to an elephant sanctuary where she will be free to roam and interact with other elephants.

Dr. Henry Richardson, a world-renowned elephant expert, expressed serious concerns about Mali’s living conditions. While her caretakers clearly do all they can for her, he said, the Manila Zoo simply does not have the space or resources to provide Mali with what she really needs: a natural environment and other elephants with which to interact. An elephant sanctuary will provide Mali with both while she remains under the supervision of elephant experts.

Transferring Mali will be difficult, but it is the right thing to do. I urge you to transfer Mali to an elephant sanctuary as soon as possible.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Paul Dickson via Geograph


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One Comment

  1. Lita Mizelle says:

    This is heartbreaking! This needs to stop. For this poor female elephant & all of the others that sent to live a solitary life in a human zoo. ….. Horrible!

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