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World’s ‘saddest elephant’ Mali dies in Manila Zoo Manila to ask SL for a replacement

01 Dec 2023 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      


  • Mali was gifted by SL to former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos in 1981 when she was 11 months old

A day after the death of Sri Lanka’s Mali, the lone elephant in the Manila City-owned zoo, its Mayor on Wednesday announced that Manila city will write a letter to Sri Lanka to inform them about Mali’s demise and request for a “replacement.”

“The Sri Lankan government, the same entity that brought Mali to the country, during one of their visits, has committed to give [a new elephant],” Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna said in Filipino in a press briefing on Wednesday, November 29, Manila-based news agencies reported.

Mali was gifted by Sri Lanka to former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos in 1977 when she was 11 months old. She was accompanied by another elephant Shiva, who had arrived in 1977 and died in 1990. Since then, Mali has been the sole elephant at Manila Zoo, entertaining children getting vaccinated at a site there during the 
COVID-19 pandemic.

Mali was the Sri Lankan government’s gift to then-First Lady Imelda Marcos in 1977 and came under the care of the City of Manila in the Philippines in May 1981. Over the years, Mali became a part of the childhood memories of many Filipinos who visited the country’s capital zoo.

Animal rights groups, however, believed that Mali suffered from profound loneliness after living most of her entire adult life without companions of the same species, and demanded the elephant’s transfer to a sanctuary where she could roam freely and mingle with others of her kind, media reports stated.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) described Mali as one of the “world’s saddest elephants,” as she had no contact with other elephants.

The city also plans to obtain additional animals for the zoo, Manila Zoo Chief Veterinarian Heinrich Patrick Peña-Domingo said. Meanwhile, the city government plans to preserve the elephant’s remains through taxidermy, which will be displayed in a museum later on.