Mali to stay in Manila Zoo, says vet

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Mali. AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Mali is not going anywhere. She is here to stay.

As Manila Zoo marked its 54th anniversary Thursday, Mayor Joseph Estrada reiterated his earlier pronouncements that he would not allow its most popular resident to be transferred to an elephant sanctuary, a move that, according to a veterinarian, made the “old lady” happy.

The sentiment was reflected in the streamers, placards and letters that were displayed around the zoo as well of expressions of gratitude to Estrada for his decision to keep Mali and plans to upgrade the zoo’s facilities.

“I want to boost tourism in our city so I will not let Mali leave the place she grew up in,” Estrada said in a speech read by Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.

“Nothing can match the smiles and joy brought to us by animals like a lion, tiger, giraffe, deer and Mali, the famous elephant,” he said.

He added that Mali needed friends, saying: “We will give her companions so that she will not be sad.”

Estrada earlier announced that he was in talks with investors from Singapore who were planning to infuse about P2 billion to modernize Manila Zoo. He said that he had also requested the Sri Lankan government to give the zoo two more elephants once the renovation was completed.

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and celebrities like Paul McCartney and Morrissey, have urged the Philippine government to transfer Mali to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, saying she was sick and lonely.

Other animal activists, however, were not in favor of the PETA proposal.

According to Ken Chua, a veterinarian with the Animal Welfare Coalition, the life span of an elephant in captivity is 42 years and at 39, Mali is an old lady.

“If Mali left the country, there is a big chance that she will not reach Thailand safely,” she said.

A trip to Thailand would put the old elephant under a lot of stress as she would be placed in a crate, loaded into an aircraft, quarantined and perhaps sedated, Chua added.

“In Mali’s case, sedatives could be fatal and she would undergo quarantine procedures in Thailand,” she said.

“Your decision made an old lady very happy,” Oscar Macenas of the Philippine Veterinary Medical Association said in a message to Estrada.

During a program marking the zoo’s anniversary, three tiger cubs, an elongated tortoise and red-eared slider turtles were presented as newborn additions to the more than 700 animals in the zoo involving 104 species. A lion cub was donated while a female zebra foal was recently born.

Members of the Autism Society of the Philippines and Photography with a Difference attended the program, feeding bananas to and taking pictures of Mali.

Hippopotamus, monkeys, crocodiles, snakes, and various birds could also be found in Manila Zoo.

The new administration under Manila Parks and Recreation Bureau chief and zoo director James Albert Dichaves hopes to surpass last year‘s income of P33 million, with 691,000 adult and 272,000 children visitors.

Of the P14 million allotted annually for food, P300,000 goes to medicine. Entrance to Manila Zoo costs P40 for adults and P20 for children, while Manila residents are charged half the price.

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  • rightist

    Kailangan na siguro taasan ng kaunti ang entrance.

  • bongarroyo

    makapunta nga ulit sa manila zoo.

    para makapanood na naman ng mga hubad na member ng pweta.

    sana araw-arawin nila ang protesta. LOL

    • blue_lights

      hahaha! buti sana kung magaganda at seksi, hindi yung mga tipong magkaka-nightmare ka pagkatapos mong makita!

  • kanoy

    CRUELTY TO ANIMALS—LET MALI GO!!!!

    Pitiful Standards

    Zoos rob elephants of their most basic needs, including social companionship and adequate space to exercise. Zoos keep elephants in unnaturally small groups and routinely shuffle them between facilities with callous disregard for the special bonds of friendship between elephants.

    Lack of exercise and long hours standing on hard surfaces
    are major contributors to foot infections and arthritis, the leading causes of
    death among captive elephants.

    According to a study commissioned by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, elephants in zoos have significantly shorter life spans than their wild counterparts.

    Elephants require vast spaces to roam, socialize, and
    express their natural behavior. They are highly social animals who, in the
    wild, live in matriarchal herds, forage for fresh vegetation, play, bathe in
    rivers, travel as far as 30 miles per day, and are active for 18 hours per day.

    Zoos’ lack of space creates health problems in elephants,
    such as muscular-skeletal ailments, arthritis, foot and joint diseases,
    reproductive problems, high infant mortality rates, and psychological distress
    (as is evidenced by repetitive swaying, head-bobbing, and pacing).
    Captivity-induced health problems are the leading cause of death of elephants
    in zoos—they are dying decades short of their expected life span.
    The elephant standards adopted by the Association of Zoos
    and Aquariums (AZA) are woefully inadequate, and many AZA zoos that display
    elephants do not meet even these meager requirements.

    • im_earth

      talk to Mali’s Vet

      • Diepor

        If you ever visited the Manila Zoo and realised the shameful terrible conditions this animals are facing everyday of their life you would agree the animals has to be moved, not only the elephant but alll of them. Close Manila zoo now.

      • kanoy

        THEY HAVE IT 100 TIMES WORSE LIVING IN THAT PUNY SMELLY ZOO THAN MANILA SQUATTERS DO ON SMOKEY MOUNTAIN—PATHETIC

      • kanoy

        IF MALI VET WAS WORTH A DARN THE VET WOULD BE WORKING IN THE US-EU OR SOMEWHERE ELSE WHO HIRE THE BEST AND PAY THE MOST—-NOT HERE WORKING FOR $10 A DAY

      • Meow Ming

        A thai vet had already checked mali a few months ago and declared that she’s a little bit obese but she’s ok.

    • boychicharon

      mali doesnt have all those health problems you mentioned. in fact mali is in a better place compared to a lot of exploited elephants in thailand.

      • kanoy

        EXACTLY WHAT YEAR DID YOU GRADUATE FROM VETERINARY SCHOOL AND WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU GAVE THE ELEPHANT A MEDICAL CHECK-UP AND BLOOD WORK? WHAT VETERINARY PSYCHIATRIST LAST EXAMINED HER FOR DEPRESSION AFTER BEING IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN HER LITTLE PRISON CELL SO MANY YEARS—ACCORDING TO PCTA?

        YOU ONLY KNOW WHAT HER JAILORS WHO BENEFIT MONETARILY FROM HER CONFINEMENT WISH TO TELL YOU BUT SINCE THE TRUTH WOULD HURT THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS WHY TELL IT?

  • band1do

    Wow, this article was reported by the BBC 6 days ago. Anyway, I just love how intelligent Estrada is (SARCASM)…

  • PrivateEye

    For those who let Mali go as if you say Let Mali die soon. I am a pro animal, only there ware lapses made by the zoo keepers that they don’t even have a proper procedure with the animals I am particular with the duration of stay inside the zoo, the animal should supposed to stay maybe at least 5 years and then it would be set free to its natural habitat. Since they don’t have that in their quality procedure manual otherwise we could let the animal stay inside the zoo as it was properly nurtured anyway. She should be transported long time ago to its natural habitat but by doing of letting her stay at least we could prolong the animal’s lifespan. In the animal kingdom we are above all these creatures, we are the one who name these beasts, humans have all the right over all the living things which YHWH has bestowed upon us, it would be a food for your consumption or a prey for the predators, its for free and its all ours lets take care of these nature wisely. We need to have a proper zoo to interact with the animals for science purposes, for entertainment with our children but it should be properly manage, the zoo must have a quality management. So life goes on, lets not close the zoo for our science and our entertainment and let us enjoy what YHWH has given us all the authority over creatures. Do not treat yourself equal with animals, you have a soul, animals don’t have . . . .Just a moment I have a live chicken here and I need to cook it for our dinner.

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