People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia’s campaign to transfer Mali, a solitary elephant constantly suffering in pain from potentially fatal foot ailments and held captive in a barren enclosure at the Manila Zoo, to a lush sanctuary has enlisted support from some of the biggest names in entertainment in the Philippines as well as other celebrities and notables around the world. Now—thanks to the support of actors Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes, who was named the third-sexiest man in the world by E! News—the call for Mali’s freedom is reaching a fever pitch. Rivera and Dantes join a fast-growing number of Philippine celebrities who have posed for “mug shots” holding cards that bear their name followed by the words “Wants Mali Freed.” Rivera’s and Dantes’ just-released photos are attached. They join other stars, including Kim Chiu, Ely Buendia, and Gerald Anderson, who have also posed in mug shots for Mali.
“Being alone is emotional torture to elephants,” Dantes says in his public service announcement for PETA, which can be viewed here.
“Mali has been sentenced to a miserable life of solitary confinement with absolutely nothing to do day after day, year after year,” says PETA Asia Campaign Manager Rochelle Regodon. “How long will the deafening call for her freedom—coming from scientists, politicians, religious leaders, and celebrities—be ignored by her cruel captors at the Manila Zoo?”
The most recent expert to speak out in support of Mali’s transfer is Blair Csuti, Ph.D., senior editor of the book The Elephant’s Foot: Prevention and Care of Foot Conditions in Captive Asian and African Elephants. Of Mali’s current environment, Csuti says that “these conditions are clearly sub-optimal for elephants and can lead to serious infections, particularly of the foot bones and connective tissue, a leading cause of mortality in captive elephants.” He’s just one of many elephant experts who have spoken out in support of Mali.
Mali’s veterinary care has been essentially ignored for more than 36 years, causing her to endure constant pain. Elephants are highly social animals who live naturally in herds and suffer greatly in the absence of other elephants. Mali is all alone—making her transfer even more urgent.
For more information, please visit PETA Asia’s website FreeMali.com.