Mali, The 'World's Saddest Elephant,' Dies After Three Solitary Decades In Captivity

In a recent announcement, Mayor Honey Lacuna shared the news that Mali, the elephant often referred to as the "saddest" due to her solitary life in captivity in the Philippines, has passed away from health complications.
the world's saddest elephant Source: EZRA ACAYAN

Mali, also known as Vishwamali, endured a prolonged period of solitary captivity in Manila Zoo, earning her the title of "the world's saddest elephant." The somber news of Mali's passing has resonated across animal welfare circles, marking the end of a prolonged period of solitary captivity.

In 2013, Paul McCartney joined forces with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to advocate for raising awareness about Mali's solitary life. McCartney, along with other notable figures like Pamela Anderson and Dr. Jane Goodall, urged authorities to transfer Mali from solitary captivity to an elephant sanctuary.

The former Beatles singer Source: EZRA ACAYAN

The former Beatles singer wrote a letter to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. "With the stroke of a pen, you can bring an end to her suffering, and I urge you, with all my heart, to please direct that Mali be given that joy now," he wrote.

Mali endured years of "intense confinement, loneliness, boredom, and isolation" at the zoo, as noted by PETA U.K. Despite an elephant sanctuary ready to provide a new home for Mali, she remained in captivity in Manila, where she was considered an integral part of the zoo.

Mali passed away on Tuesday due to cancer and an aorta blockage. Dr. Heinrich Patrick Peña-Domingo, the chief veterinarian, mentioned that Mali showed signs of distress, lying on her side, breathing heavily, and rubbing her trunk against a wall. While vets gave her antihistamines and vitamins, Mali died the same day.

Mali wasn't truly alone Source: EZRA ACAYAN

Despite objections to Mali's living conditions, some, like Mayor Lacuna, saw her captivity differently. In a Facebook conference, the mayor expressed that Mali wasn't truly alone, as she had people beside her. According to Mayor Lacuna, Mali was a familiar face at Manila Zoo and an integral part of their lives.

Mayor Lacuna plans to request Sri Lanka for another elephant for the Manila Zoo, similar to how Mali was donated. In response, animal rights activists are determined to oppose the addition of another elephant, advocating to prevent a similar situation of solitary captivity.

Peta Asia Source: EZRA ACAYAN

However, animal rights activists argue that her solitary life resulted from indifference and greed. In a statement, PETA Asia condemned the conditions Mali endured for almost five decades and called for a shift away from exploiting animals for Entertainment.

"People everywhere can do their part to protect other elephants by staying away from any business that puts animals on display for entertainment," Peta Asia said.

On X, PETA Asia added, "We're so sorry, Mali. You deserved better."

Mali's passing has ignited a global conversation about animal welfare and the role of zoos in the modern era. For more amazing stories about other elephants, click here now!

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