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End of an Era: Mali, 'World's Saddest Elephant,' Passes in Manila Zoo

  • Posted on November 29, 2023
  • Lifestyle
  • By Top Stories

In Manila, the iconic elephant Mali, known for a solitary life at the zoo, has passed away. Mali's demise sparks tributes after spending decades alone, drawing attention to animal rights concerns. Despite pleas for relocation, Mali remained solitary, becoming a symbol of zoo-related animal welfare issues.

End of an Era: Mali, 'World's Saddest Elephant,' Passes in Manila Zoo Image Source

In the heart of Manila, Mali, an emblematic elephant residing at the city's zoo, has passed away, concluding a poignant chapter of solitude and stirring discussions on animal welfare. Known for decades as a solitary figure in Manila Zoo, Mali's demise has prompted an outpouring of tributes, highlighting concerns surrounding animals living in captivity.

For over four decades, Mali held the spotlight at Manila Zoo, captivating visitors and serving as the main attraction. Her passing triggered an emotional response from many, drawing attention to her prolonged isolation. Reports suggest that Mali's final days were marked by visible distress, observed by zoo authorities who noticed her rubbing her trunk against a wall, signaling potential discomfort.

Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna, in a heartfelt announcement via social media, recalled Mali's significance to her childhood memories, indicating the deep impact the elephant had on generations of visitors. The somber announcement of Mali's passing was followed by details from Manila Zoo's chief veterinarian, Heinrich Patrick Peña-Domingo, who described Mali's declining health leading up to her demise.

Despite efforts by veterinarians administering medical aid, including antihistamines and vitamins, Mali's health rapidly deteriorated. An autopsy revealed concerning findings, indicating organ cancer and a blockage in her aorta, shedding light on the challenges she faced in her final days.

Mali's story is intertwined with years of solitude since arriving as a gift from Sri Lanka in 1981. Accompanied briefly by another elephant named Shiva, who passed away in 1990, Mali remained the solitary elephant at the zoo. Throughout her stay, concerns were raised by animal rights activists about her solitary existence and the zoo's ability to provide adequate care.

Renowned personalities, including Sir Paul McCartney, had advocated for Mali's relocation to a sanctuary where she could live among other elephants. However, zoo authorities defended their decision, citing Mali's lack of knowledge about life in the wild as a reason for her continued stay.

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The news of Mali's passing prompted tributes from various quarters, with organizations like PETA expressing sorrow over Mali's solitary life and advocating for better treatment of animals in captivity. Additionally, social media echoed sentiments of grief and calls for better conditions for animals in zoos, emphasizing the need for improved animal welfare practices.

Mayor Lacuna, while acknowledging Mali's significance to the zoo and the city, expressed her intent to seek another elephant donation from the Sri Lankan government. The emotional impact of Mali's departure was evident as Lacuna recounted the elephant's role as a beloved face of Manila Zoo, a poignant symbol that had touched countless lives throughout her tenure.

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