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. PETA, cultural and political leaders, world-renowned elephant experts, and more than 100,000 compassionate people from around the globe all pleaded for Mali’s release to a sanctuary where she could have enjoyed the company of other elephants.
Mali was still a nursing baby when she was taken from her home in Sri Lanka, where she was just learning how to swim, roughhouse with her cousins, and find her own food.
The Manila Zoo and the city of Manila sentenced Mali to decades of solitary confinement, which is torturous for female elephants, who naturally would spend their lives among their mothers and sisters, protecting one another and raising each other’s calves.
Despite repeated warnings, zoo and city officials ignored Mali’s clearly painful foot problems, which are the leading cause of death in captive elephants, sentencing her to years of suffering. The Manila Zoo has announced that Mali had cancer that was not detected by their veterinarians until after she died. Due to the fact that there is no elephant expert in the country, Mali was never provided with routine veterinary care—something she would have been given at the sanctuary PETA was prepared to transfer her to. 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.
Thanks to everyone who rallied for Mali’s release prior to her death—including Dr. Jane Goodall, Sir Paul McCartney, The Smashing Pumpkins, Pamela Anderson, Ely Buendia, Cat Stevens, Alicia Silverstone, Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes, Brigitte Bardot, Morrissey, J.M. Coetzee, Geneva Cruz, Amanda Griffin Jacob, Jake Zyrus, Bianca Valerio, Daiana Menezes, Sheena Vera Cruz, Mia Ayesa, Julia Sniegowski, Ornusa Cadness, Isabella Gonzalez, Sanya Smith, Andi Eigenmann, Enrique Gil, Gerald Anderson, the late Gina Lopez, Glaiza De Castro, Hayden Kho, Jericho Rosales, Jimmy Alapag, Josh Padilla, Kean Cipriano, Kim Chiu, Maja Salvador, Piolo Pascual, Rhian Ramos, Sam Concepcion, Sam Milby, Shaina Magdayao, Xian Lim, the late Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Felipe L. Gozon, Jacqueline Fernandez, the late Judith Durham, Julia Butterfly, Kong Saharat, Archbishop Jose S. Palma, Lorna Kapunan, Natalie Glebova, Sr. Mary Thomas Prado, Sr. Mary Sarah Manapol, Steve Kilbey, R Madavan, Ice Seguerra, Yolanda Moon, Pulso, The Charms, Yasmien Kurdi, Up Drama Down, Carla D, Raya Mananquil, Isabel Roces, elephant experts around the world, dozens of local and international animal welfare organizations and thousands of school children.
People everywhere can do their part to protect other elephants by staying away from any business that puts animals on display for entertainment.