MANILA, Philippines - The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) yesterday said it would submit an online petition with more than 60,000 signatures to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, demanding that the elephant Mali be transferred from Manila Zoo to a sanctuary in Thailand.
In a statement, PETA Asia campaign manager Rochelle Regodon said that they intend to submit the petition to dramatize their appeal. She said some of them will wear elephant costumes when they deliver their petition.
“Mali has been locked up in what amounts to no more than a prison for 35 painful years. The international outcry for an end to Mali’s loneliness and suffering grows louder with each passing day, but the Manila Zoo has turned a deaf ear. Now, it’s time for Secretary Alcala to take action,” said Regodon.
PETA said that the 38-year-old elephant has been denied everything natural and important to her.
“Once she is relocated to the sanctuary, she would have hectares in which to roam, rivers and ponds to bathe in, and the crucial company of other elephants,” the group said.
Some elephant experts, including world-renowned veterinarian Henry Richardson, have concluded that the female animal is suffering from potentially fatal foot problems and requested that she be removed from the Manila Zoo.
President Aquino has previously issued a directive to consider Mali for relocation to a sanctuary, said the animal-rights group.
Mali’s transfer has also received international support from notable persons such as French film legend Brigitte Bardot, wildlife conservationist Jane Goodall, and author J.M. Coetzee, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature.