MANILA, Philippines – An environmental group has joined the growing list of concerned individuals urging the transfer of an elderly elephant in the Manila Zoo to a sanctuary in Thailand.
In a statement released on Monday, Pilipinas Ecowarriors said Mali is “better off in a designated sanctuary, rather than kept in a zoo here,” citing the elephant’s current condition.
“Mali deserves a safe haven where she can be in a natural environment, hopefully with other elephants,” Pilipinas Ecowarriors convenor Juan Miguel Zubiri said.
He added that it may be best to relocate Mali to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, which “looks after more than 50 Asian elephants in a forest setting.”
Last week, members of the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urged Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to facilitate the immediate transfer of Mali to a sanctuary in Thailand.
PETA’s petition for Mali on Change.org has generated 60,177 signatures. The group earlier noted that Mali has been suffering from foot ailments, which is said to be the leading cause of death among captive elephants.
It added that the elephant is enduring loneliness, boredom and isolation in the Manila Zoo.
A number of lawmakers as well as the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines have expressed their support to the call to release Mali, which was featured in PETA’s 2012 Christmas ad campaign.
Malacañang earlier said it has instructed government agencies to look into Mali’s condition.