Following the recent election of a new Mayor in Manila, the future for Mali the elephant at Manila Zoo is starting to look brighter.

Since we joined the campaign supporting the removal of Mali the elephant from Manila Zoo we have worked with partners at PETA Asia to try and secure her safe removal to a sanctuary in Thailand. Despite huge international interest in her tragic circumstances and ailing health, a number of stumbling blocks have prevented a swift solution to her plight. However, the long-awaited Mayoral elections this week in Manila presented a beacon of hope for this poor animal.

On 10 May Manila mayoral candidate Joseph Estrada wrote to PETA to express his support for the transfer of Mali. “It is not right for people, especially children, to see lonely, ailing, and depressed animals living in deplorable conditions.” Furthermore, in a meeting, he stated, “I care about everyone in the Philippines. Mali is an example of how we can right some of the wrongs of the past and teach compassion and understanding to a whole generation. She may be seen as ‘just an elephant’ to some, but she symbolises so much more.”

Estrada won the election held on 13 May and takes office on July 1. His election victory eliminates the largest stumbling block to Mali’s transfer, the current Manila Mayor, Alfredo Lim.

The news was greeted with delight by activists campaigning for Mali’s freedom. Brian Davies, founder of Network for Animals said, “Joseph Estrada is to be commended for his compassionate attitude towards Mali and we wish him every success as Manila’s new mayor and trust that Mali’s transfer to Thailand will happen speedily.”

Other developments in the campaign to free Mali have also raised the profile of her plight and helped push the reality of her transfer to a sanctuary in Thailand forward. Due to Pamela Anderson offering to go on a date with the President, the previously reluctant Bureau of Animal Industry, the department that oversees the exporting of animals, is now being much more cooperative.

We are now in the process of developing plans to fund a visit by zoo officials to the sanctuary in Thailand thanks to the generosity of our supporters.