Solons support move to transfer Mali, the elephant from Manila Zoo to Thailand

CAGAYAN DE ORO Rep. Rufus Rodriguez has urged the concerned government agencies to immediately facilitate the transfer of Mali, the elephant currently housed at the Manila Zoo, to Boon Lott’s Elephant sanctuary (BLES) in Thailand.

Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan De Oro City) and Maximo Rodriguez (Party-list, Abante Mindanao), author of House Resolution 2885, asked the City of Manila, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), the Protected Area and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) to facilitate the immediate transfer of Mali from the Manila Zoo to Thailand.

Rodriguez said there is no sanctuary in the Philippines that can offer the necessary expertise and resources to care for an elephant.

Rodriguez said that foot care is needed for captive elephants because of the lack of exercise and the lack of varied substrate available to them at the Manila Zoo.

“This preventive foot care is performed at every reputable zoo around the world, in recognition that this care is essential to the well-being of elephants since foot problems are the leading cause of death in captive elephants,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the Manila Zoo does not have veterinarians with expertise, knowledge and experience in caring for elephants.

“The main reason why Mali has not been treated with anything more than topical ointments for superficial wounds and laxatives in the past 35 years while she has been housed at the zoo,” Rodriguez said.

Citing studies of elephant experts, Rodriguez said female elephants need to socialize with others of their own kind to keep their well-being.

“The sanctuary in Thailand which specializes in rehabilitating Asian elephants has offered to care for Mali,” Rodriguez said.

“To transfer back Mali to its country of origin is not advisable because there is no suitable sanctuary in Sri Lanka that would be able to provide the best possible care to Mali,” Rodriguez added.

Earlier, Rep. Carlos Padilla (Lone District, Nueva Vizcaya) also filed a similar measure urging the concerned government agency to an investigation to determine the situation of the elephant.

Mali is also the subject of a huge campaign from animal rights organizations led by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The group even offered to pay for the transfer of Mali to a sanctuary in Thailand where she can have adequate care from elephant experts

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