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‘Mali’ in pink of health, says elephant expert from Thailand



MANILA, Philippines—“Mali” the elephant appears to be in the pink of health—if a bit on the stout side—but it’s too early to tell if the most famous resident of the Manila Zoo should stay or go, a visiting Thai elephant expert said on Friday.

Amid the clamor from animal rights activists to ship her to a sanctuary in Thailand, Mali actually looks well cared for in her enclosure at the zoo, said Dr. Nikorn Thongtip of Kasetsart University’s Department of Large Animal and Wildlife Clinical Sciences.

“She looked healthy in every system. The color of the mouth is pink. It’s a good color. It means an elephant is healthy. And her skin is healthy, no wound. Just a little bit around the bone here, and that is good,” Thongtip told a briefing at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.

But Thongtip had a suggestion for the 38-year-old 7-ton giant: She needs to slim down.

“Just a little bit of obesity. [She’s] too fat,” he said. The scientist added that contrary to some reports, Mali’s nails “do not look bad, compared to elephants of the same age.”

Mali was brought to the Philippines from Sri Lanka in 1977 as a gift to then First Lady Imelda Marcos. She was 3 years old then and has spent 35 years at the Manila Zoo.

Animal rights activists led by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have mounted a campaign to petition government to have Mali flown to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, citing health problems and her apparent “loneliness” with no other elephants at the zoo for company.

Upon the request of the Department of Environment and Natural Resource’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, Thongtip was sent to the Philippines by the Thai government to check on Mali’s condition and make recommendations as to whether or not she could be transferred abroad and if she was fit enough to do so.

But Thongtip said a more thorough examination was needed before a decision could be made about moving Mali, including checking for tuberculosis, a serious problem afflicting Thailand’s elephants.

“Not now,” he replied, when asked if Mali should be moved to a sanctuary abroad.

“Because we have to check clearly [for tuberculosis]. Elephants in my country have this problem, too. We have TB in elephants, so we need to clear everything first,” he told reporters.

Thongtip said Mali could not be checked for TB as she had not been trained for the required specimen collections, including what he described as a “trickle wash.”

“We have to check but Mali is not trained for checking in this disease yet because we need to trickle wash her trunk … lip, [collect specimens and have them] sent to a laboratory for culture of the bacteria,” he said.

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Tags: animal , Elephant , Mali , Manila Zoo

  • Manga Gamud

    Yun naman pala eh si Mali enjoy siya sa buhay kaya siya mataba. Itong mga animal rights activists sobrang OA para lang mapansin.

    • http://twitter.com/erncastillo ern

      korek….and did you say animal yun nga rights activists?…

  • tekateka

    That’s how poor the Philippines have become… can’t even feed one elephant….. How much more to millions of desolate people.. the only option is to pimp these poor souls as slaves overseas… so sad….

    • Meow Ming

      You have poor reading comprehension or you didn’t even read the whole article. The elephant is obese and overfed the expert said and needs to slim down.

      • tekateka

        That elephant was malnourished and sick!!! what do you think these fools will do after all the attention? The headline itself tells the whole story… pambibilog lang ng ulo! ganyan ang Pinoy! madlang tanga!


        ..basahin mo article sa taas..”OBESE” daw si MALI..meaning…ndi nagkukulang si MALI sa pagkain… unga@s!

  • TheHopefulPessimist

    This is slightly off topic but I think it will be a big mistake if the Manila Zoo is demolished to give way to a sports complex or what not. I enjoyed every visit to this zoo when I was a kid, despite being out dated and comparatively smaller than zoos in other countries. What needs to happen is renovation to modernize or even widen the space for the animals. Mali definitely needs a way bigger area than she currently occupies and perhaps another elephant friend for companion!

    I still remember the stone enclosure of the tigers and lions where observers get a vantage view from above. I could watch the huge felines for hours roaming around, going in and out of the cave, or just napping under the warmth of the sun. Manila Zoo is not just a refuge for many animal species; it also serves as a place of refuge for many city residents who want to escape the chaos of the metropolis even for just a few hours in the day.

    Save the Manila Zoo.

    • OZBOYS

      I agree with you Save the Manila Zoo

  • Fulpol

    PETA is a liar and schemer, after all..

  • Meow Ming

    Payag ako na dapat na syang mag-retire sa manila zoo at dalhin san man sanctuary pero sa kondisyon na may kapalit sya na 2 batang elepante rin.

  • May_Baxasfa

    Dapat tlagang magprotesta nang hubad ang PETA dito. Maghubad sila sa harap ng Manila Zoo, at pupunta rin ako. Sige na, PETA, hubad na!


    amp..talaga tong mga PETA.. pag yan nanghina , nagkasakit at namatay… pagkatapos malipat kung san gusto ng mga taga PETA si MALI ilipat.. pUpugutan ko ng mga ulo tong mga taga PETA……nanahimik si Mali sa Manila Zoo eh.. kahit na wala syang kasamang kapwa elepante.. masaya at malusog si MALI.. kung gusto nila ilipat..dapat nung maliit at bata pa si MALI..kung kelan naghihirapan pa sya mka adapt sa paligid nya noon… ngayong kampante na si MALI sa kanyang kapaligiran.. saka nila ipalilipat ng lugar.. SILA KAYA..MGA TAGA PETA.. SUBUKAN NILA MANIRAHAN SA AFRIKA O SA MEXICO NG BIGLAAN DIN.. ILIPAD SILA DUN AGAD AGAD..EWAN KO LANG KUNG HNDI SILA MAHIRAPAN DUN MAMUHAY… hmmpp kaka high blood tong mga taga PETA..PAPANSIN TALAGA PATI MGA ARTISTA KAHIT KELAN PAPANSIN…!!

  • noelv

    Mali will die in Thailand from TB or stress from adjusting to a new environment. Whereas in the Philippines she’s healthy and well fed as what the Thai elephant expert said. If Mali can speak, she will say “Please don’t take me away from my home. Mamamatay ako sa homesickness dun. ‘Di ko kilala mga Thai elephants.”

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