Friday, January 22, 2010

'Mali', Manila Zoo's Elephant

I have some sympathy with the elephant in Manila Zoo and yes I do think that relocation is a good idea or a companion or three and larger enclosure within the zoo. They have the space...but then Manila Zoo is not a good zoo. Definitely something needs to be done. It should not however be the likes of PETA to say these things, it should be the Zoo community...the community of GOOD zoos. It is not as if this was a recent 'problem' as there have been several protests and umpteen letters written about this unfortunate beast. Manila Zoo however is something of a law unto itself. Other zoos in the country send their keepers on training programmes but Manila doesn't bother! - Peter


PETA reveals sad plight of Manila Zoo's lonely elephant

For the past three years now, PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) has featured the campaigns of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the largest animal rights organization in the world that has over two million members and supporters.

Remember the "Go Vegetarian" campaign of Yasmien Kurdi? How about the bare-it-all pictorial of Diether Ocampo to underscore “Naked Truth: Animals Don’t Belong in Zoos"? Of course, you surely didn't miss the anti-captivity ad of Borgy Manotoc and Ornusa Cadness where their bodies were painted with tiger stripes.

This time, the spotlight is on Mali, who has a celebrity status in Manila Zoo.

WHO IS MALI? Vishwamali, or Mali for short, is an elephant who was born in Sri Lanka in 1974. She was only three years old when she was torn from her family and shipped to the Manila Zoo.

Confined to a barren, concrete enclosure where she lives alone, Mali is now said to be exhibiting the classic signs of depression and psychological stress. Bringing more elephants to the zoo will increase profits, but not further the wellbeing of Mali. The Manila Zoo's decrepit enclosure cannot adequately house one elephant, let alone more than one.

Hence, PETA is calling on the zoo's administrators to immediately relocate Mali to an accredited sanctuary, where she can enjoy the vital companionship of other elephants and roam and forage amid lush, natural vegetation.

In the wild, elephants such as Mali live and travel in close-knit matriarchal herds of related females, who roam up to 80 kilometers a day. Asian elephants have home ranges of between 25,000 and 60,000 hectares. The entire Manila Zoo measures only 5.5 hectares.

PETA's investigation revealed that when she's not on display, Mali spends most of her time sleeping. In the wild, Mali can browse and graze; pluck fruit, leaves, and shoots from trees; take mud baths and swim and play in the water.

Carol Buckley—who has more than 35 years of professional experience in the care and management of Asian elephants and who operates The Elephant Sanctuary, which, at more than 1,000 hectares, is the largest rehabilitation and living center for former zoo and circus elephants—told PETA:

"There can be no doubt that Mali's undersized living space and isolation has had, and will continue to have, a severe negative impact on her physical and psychological health. More often than not, captive elephants are afflicted with painful and crippling illnesses that are directly related to lack of space and lead to drastically shortened life spans. It is likely that Mali is or

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