Meet Mali, the loneliest Elephant in the world. For nearly 40 years Mali has been a prisoner of the Manila Zoo where she has been deprived of everything that comes naturally to her. She was transferred to Manila Zoo in 1977 when she was just a baby – a gift from Sri Lanka to the Philippines. Mali is kept alone in a tiny barren concrete enclosure. It has been over 30 years since she’s ever seen another elephant.
Seeing for myself the suffering and horrific living conditions Mali has to endure was really upsetting. Looking into her sad eyes broke my heart and I felt so guilty to be part of the species that has inflicted this pain on her for our own entertainment. Everyone around Mali was so happy and excited to see her. The kids were excitedly shouting ”Mali” to try and get her attention. This was only for about two minutes though until the novelty wore off and then they moved on to the next animal. Two minutes of pleasure for a lifetime of suffering. It reminded me of the first time I went to Thailand and saw elephants chained up, being poked at with sharp hooks and made to carry tourists on their backs all day long.
Altogether I spent about 20 minutes watching her and all she would do was pace back and forth, holding her front leg up for a continued period of time to alleviate the pain (which I found out is called ‘favoring.’) What else could she do? There was no water for her to bathe in, no trees for her to pick leaves from, no mud to play in and no grass for her to lie on. In the wild, elephants walk for miles a day in their herds, not on hard concrete but rather on soft mud and grass. The constant standing on concrete has caused severe pain in Mali’s feet and joints. In a report on the Free Mali website it states that foot problems are the number one cause of death in captive elephants. Ever since Mali has entered the Zoo, she has never been given appropriate foot care.😢
“The Manila Zoo has failed Mali. Not only is she suffering from isolation and captivity-induced foot problems, I’ve also learned that she has not even had basic blood work conducted in the three and a half decades that she’s been at the zoo. The demonstrated lack of preventive care and prophylactic treatment is indicative of the inadequate expertise available to Mali. This elephant has suffered long enough.” – Dr. Jane Goodall
Peta has already agreed to pay for Mali to be transfered to Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand where she would be free to spend the rest of her days playing, socialising and given the care she so desperately needs.
I really hope one day the government will do the right thing and give Mali the life she deserves. You can help Mali by signing this letter to the authorities here and you can also write a letter to the embassy of the Philippines in your country. Be sure to check out FreeMali.com and follow the Facebook page for more updates on Mali.🐘
Read more about my trip to Manila Zoo here.