Everyone knows Mali. Many of us remember her from class trips to the Manila Zoo as far back as 35 years ago. Mali is the Philippines’ only captive elephant – and perhaps one of the world’s saddest. In the wild, elephants roam territories of up to 50 kilometers every day, but Mali is confined to a very small enclosure at the Manila Zoo, which itself covers an area of only 0.055 square kilometers.
Every minute of every day, Mali is confined to her barren, concrete enclosure. She has lived this way for about 35 years. She had been denied the opportunity to engage in activities that elephants need for their physical, mental, and emotional health, such as grazing, plucking fruit and leaves from trees, taking mud baths, and spending hours a day swimming and playing in the water. She hasn’t seen another elephant in over 30 years. That’s just sad.
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