Manila — TV and film star Jericho Rosales is the latest celebrity to join People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia's campaign to transfer the elephant Mali from a concrete enclosure at the Manila Zoo—which is causing her pain from potentially fatal foot ailments every day—to a lush sanctuary where she can finally receive adequate veterinary care and the companionship of other elephants. Rosales is in good company: Charice, Aiza Seguerra, Dingdong Dantes, Kim Chiu, Xian Lim, Sam Milby, Marian Rivera, Paul McCartney, and many other stars have posed for "mug shots" in support of Mali's transfer. In addition, the world's most respected elephant experts, including Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, Dr. Philip K. Ensley, and Dr. Vicki Fishlock have stated their support for the transfer. Rosales' photo is attached and can also be viewed on the campaign's Facebook page.
In addition to starring in the new print ad, Rosales also stars in a video public service announcement (available here, with a broadcast-quality version available here), in which he calls for Mali's freedom. "All evidences tells us that Mali is lonely and badly in need of veterinary care," he says. "I don't understand why Mali's transfer has not already happened—she deserves a life that is more than the confines of the Manila Zoo."
Mali has received essentially no veterinary care for more than 36 years, leaving her to endure constant pain from debilitating foot problems. Also, elephants are highly social animals who naturally live in herds and suffer greatly in the absence of other elephants. Mali is all alone, making her transfer even more urgent.
Even if the elephant exhibit at the Manila Zoo were to be doubled or tripled in size, it would still not be adequate to house one elephant, never mind additional ones. While zoos around the world routinely spend 2 billion pesos on attempts at more appropriately sized elephant enclosures, more and more zoos have recognized that the needs of these complex and intelligent animals cannot be met in captivity. The Detroit Zoo, the ZSL London Zoo, the Toronto Zoo, the Greater Vancouver Zoo, and the San Francisco Zoo are just a few of the zoos around the world that are closing their elephant exhibits and transferring the elephants to sanctuaries. If the Manila Zoo were to follow the lead of these zoos, the decision would undoubtedly be met with accolades from around the world and set the Philippines apart as a nation highly concerned with animal welfare.
For more information, please visit PETA Asia's website FreeMali.com.