Thanks to the support of thousands of NFA supporters the campaign to transfer Mali the elephant to a sanctuary in Thailand is gaining momentum.

At the age of three Mali came to Manila Zoo. Since then she has spent 35 years – most of her life – alone in a concrete pen that offers her none of the things that elephants need to fulfil their complex psychological and emotional needs. Her enclosure amounts to an open concrete prison cell with no enrichment whatsoever, so Mali just walks slowly in a figure of eight pattern all day.

In addition to the emotional suffering that Mali endures, staff at Manila Zoo have proved unable to care for her health. During the entire time that Mali has been at the zoo, she has not had adequate foot care or blood work. In the wild, elephants roam vast territories but Mali has little room to walk in her concrete pen. As a result, her cuticles have become overgrown and the pads of her feet have become cracked, which could lead to infection if they continue to be left untreated. Her full time carer appears to have no veterinary qualifications or elephant-related training.

Early in 2012 we joined the campaign to retire Mali to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand where she can live out her days in peace. PETA Asia has already secured a place for her and offered to pay for her transfer, but despite growing international pressure, the zoo is delaying action.


Our Executive Director visited the Philippines in March to check on Mali’s wellbeing and push forward plans for her safe removal from the zoo.

The mayor of Manila has set up a meeting with PETA and pre-transfer veterinary procedures are being committed to, so we are hopeful that things are starting to happen.

In January, Mali’s plight was raised in the Philippine Congress. The Committee on Natural Resources passed a resolution that aims to look into her welfare and urge the relevant authorities to expedite her transfer. Numerous members of Congress and more than half of the Senate have provided letters of support. The President has also issued a directive advising relevant officials to evaluate Mali’s suitability for the transfer to the sanctuary.

Support for Mali in the Philippines has been overwhelming. Everyone from celebrities to religious leaders has spoken out in favour of moving Mali. About 10,000 local school children made cards and wrote letters for Mali. A dozen international experts have voiced their support for transferring her to a sanctuary.

The stumbling block right now appears to be the mayor of Manila who has authority over the zoo. He has stated his objections to the transfer but has recently agreed to meet with PETA to discuss the matter. If the mayor refuses to change his position, the forthcoming May elections will usher in a new mayor who we hope is more sympathetic.

– We need you to keep the pressure up on the President of the Philippines and the Mayor of Manila

– We also need to ask you, our caring supporters to continue to donate to our campaign so that we can help to contribute to advertising aimed at lobbying the mayor of Manila to approve the transfer, and, of course, when the transfer happens, to contribute to the massive costs involved. 

– Want to do more for Mali? Why not visit the Mayor of Manila’s Twitter page and ask him to get involved in the campaign?

As a result of the generosity of our supporters we have already been able to:

– offer to pay for officials from Manila Zoo to visit the sanctuary in Thailand so they can see the benefit of allowing Mali to retire there and get them on side.

– set aside funds to help with the costs of transferring Mali to the sanctuary PETA has secured.

– continue to lobby in the Philippines and work with sympathetic MPs in the UK to generate UK diplomatic pressure.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Photo credit: Martin Usborne