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Mali, the 'World's Saddest Elephant,' Dies in Captivity in Manila Zoo

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BNN Correspondents
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Mali, the 'World's Saddest Elephant,' Dies in Captivity in Manila Zoo

Manila, Philippines mourns the loss of Mali, an elephant that spent most of its life in solitary confinement at the Manila Zoo, and was often referred to as the 'world's saddest elephant' by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Mali passed away at the estimated age of 43 due to pancreatic cancer, as revealed by an autopsy.

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A Life in Captivity

Mali was gifted to the former first lady Imelda Marcos by the Sri Lankan government in 1981 when she was just 11 months old. After the death of another elephant named Shiva in 1990, Mali lived alone, sparking international campaigns advocating for her relocation. Despite the efforts, including a personal plea from Beatles member Paul McCartney in 2012 to the President of the Philippines, Mali remained at the zoo till her end.

The Impact of Solitary Life

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The solitary life led by Mali in the Manila Zoo has highlighted the concerns about the well-being of animals in captivity. Animal welfare advocacy groups such as The Earth Island Institute Philippines have emphasized the harm caused by captive wildlife exhibits following Mali's death. The group advocated for a more humane approach to wild animals and suggested that the Manila Zoo should cease operations, releasing the remaining animals from its cages to sanctuaries.

Mali's Legacy

Manila's Mayor Honey Lacuna expressed sorrow at the loss of Mali, who was considered a star attraction and had been an integral part of the community's life. Discussions are ongoing about preserving Mali's body for display in a museum, a decision that further underscores the enduring impact of her story. Mali's life and death serve as a potent reminder of the need to protect wildlife in their natural habitat and avoid patronizing zoos.

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