Free Asian Elephant in Solitary Confinement for 35 Years

Vishwamali (Mali for short), an Asian elephant, has been living by herself in a rundown pen at the Manila Zoo in the Philippines for over 35 years now. She was brought to the zoo in 1974, when she was only 3 years old. Her mother was killed by poachers. Asian elephants in the wild can live for up to 60 years. It’s not uncommon for them to live even longer, up to 80 years, in captivity. Mali has spent what would be around half of her natural lifespan, over 92% of her life, living inside a substandard enclosure. During this time, Mali has had no contact with other members of her species, despite the fact that Asian elephants are naturally social animals.

Officials at the Manila Zoo claim that Mali is used to her cage, and that due to her extended captivity she would likely not survive being released into the wild. Most animal activists, however, are not calling for Mali to be released into the wild but rather that she be allowed to live out the rest of her live in a sanctuary where she will receive more space and the opportunity to interact with other elephants. British rock icon Morrissey, ex-singer of the group The Smiths, is currently leading the protest to have Mali retired from the zoo and moved to a US sanctuary for aging elephants.


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