Elephants are extremely social creatures. They form groups, and sometimes join up with other herds. The females stay together, raising each others young and communicate constantly with one another. Female asian elephants are never alone in the wild.
Manilla Zoo, Philippines Mali is the only Asian Elephant in the zoo. In fact she is the only elephant in captivity in the Philippines. The 38-year-old gentle giant has been an occupant of the zoo since she was taken from her mother at the age of 3, spending all of her life in a concrete enclosure.
After capturing the attention of concerned citizens, an animal rights group was contacted and Dr. Mel Richardson, a veterinarian and expert on elephants, was sent to evaluate Mali. His findings expressed concerns both for her physical and mental health.
Mali’s feet (which have only known the feel of concrete) are showing ailments including cracked nails, overgrown cuticles, and cracked pads. Such foot problems are the leading cause of death in captive elephants. The zoos veterinarians admit they do not have the means to properly care for her feet.
Perhaps even more importantly, Dr. Richardson expressed extreme concern for her profound loneliness. ” Mali’s social and psychological needs are being neglected at the Manila Zoo. Even the best intentions … cannot replace these needs, which can only be met by the companionship of other elephants.” He concludes, “In my experience, even elephants who have been alone for more than 20 years integrate well with other elephants when moved to a sanctuary.”
There is a place available for Mali at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. She could feel the grass beneath her tired feet, wrap her trunk around other trunks, greeting other elephants for the first time in her life. After a lifetime of solitary confinement, isn’t it time she lived as she was meant to?
There has been an outpouring of support for this magnificent lady. Everyone from PETA to Dame Daphne Sheldrick has lent a voice to the effort to move her. Yet the officials of the Manilla Zoo have resisted, saying she is home and they are her family.
There is a place available for Mali at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. After a lifetime of solitary confinement, Mali could finally feel the grass beneath her feet, wrap her trunk around other trunks, and greet a family for the first time in her life. Please join in the fight to give Mali the life she deserves. Go to Free Mali on facebook.