Solon supports transfer of “Mali” to a sanctuary in Thailand

NUEVA VIZCAYA Rep. Carlos Padilla has expressed support to a proposal of an animal rights group to relocate a captive Manila Zoo elephant to a sanctuary in Thailand.

“Elephants are intelligent animals with complex social lives which, if denied everything that is natural and important, suffer socially and psychologically and often lead to abnormal, neurotic and even self-destructive behavior,” said Padilla (Lone District, Nueva Vizcaya).

Padilla, author of House Resolution 2632, was referring to Mali, a female Asian elephant living alone in captivity at the Manila Zoo for almost 35 years now.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal (PETA), an animal rights organization, is offering to pay for the transfer of Mali to a sanctuary in Thailand where she can have adequate care from elephant handlers and experts.

Padilla said Mali’s current environment deprives the animal of socialization and endures internal confinement, loneliness, boredom and isolation in an area a fraction of her natural habitat.

Citing a finding of Dr. Henry Richardson, a world-renowned elephant veterinarian, Padilla said the chronic pressure sores on Mali’s feet, cracked nails and overgrown cuticles can result in severe infection, which could cause her death.

Padilla said several countries have already closed their elephant exhibits in their zoos and transferred the elephants to sanctuaries.

Padilla urged the House Committee on Natural Resources to conduct an inquiry on the implementation of existing policies and programs for the protection and promotion of animals in captivity.

“There is a need to assess the policies and programs that protect and promote the welfare of captive animals as well as the regulations, operation and maintenance of animal facilities,” Padilla said.

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