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Prompted by a letter from English singer and lyricist Morrissey, Malacañang has ordered the Bureau of Animal Industry to evaluate if the Manila Zoo's 35-year old Asian elephant, Mali, should be transferred to a sanctuary.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Wednesday, “We share the concerns expressed by animal advocates who have brought up the condition of the resident pachyderm. Rest assured, the responsible agencies will be swiftly implementing the order to ensure the welfare of Mali.”
Recently, Morrisey took up the cudgels for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia-Pacific and appealed to President Benigno Aquino III to send Mali to a sanctuary.
"On behalf of PETA Asia, I ask that you send Mali to a sanctuary, where she would have room to roam and be able to be among other members of her own species," Morrissey wrote. He expressed his belief that Mali suffers from extreme loneliness, boredom and isolation.
Originally named Vishwamali, the elephant was born in Sri Lanka in 1974. She was brought to the Manila Zoo when she was three years old, and has lived in an enclosure since then.
"Mali's enclosure at the zoo is a fraction of the size that her natural habitat would be. A sanctuary would give her the opportunity for enrichment and companionship that she has been denied for many years," wrote Morrissey.
PETA earlier said The Elephant Sanctuary in the U.S. can provide Mali vast roaming spaces, ponds to bathe in, fresh vegetation, foraging activities, and the company of other elephants.
"The facility understands and has experience with elephants like Mali. They also have a history of healing and restoring quality of life to elephants who have become debilitated by years of captivity," said PETA. — DVM/ELR, GMA News