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Mali going to Zoobic

MANILA, Philippines - Mali the elephant is finally leaving the Manila Zoo, but only temporarily, and not for a sanctuary in Thailand.

The elephant will stay in a park in Subic once the renovation of the Manila Zoo starts.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada yesterday said he agreed to the request of Zoomanity Group (ZG) to allow the company to take care of Mali at least temporarily.

“It would be temporary because we will be constructing a world class Manila Zoo. While it’s being constructed we might give (Mali) to Subic... We will not let go of Mali,” he said.

ZG of the Yupangco Group of companies operates several farms and zoos including Zoocobia Fun Zoo at Clark Freeport, Zoobic Safari in Subic and the Paradizoo Theme Park in Cavite.

In a letter to Estrada, ZG said it could provide better care for the elephant.

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The request came amid the campaign of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to transfer Mali, a gift from Sri Lanka to former first lady Imelda Marcos during the 1970s, to a sanctuary in Thailand.

PETA said Mali has been suffering from loneliness and a possibly fatal foot ailment.

Estrada has repeatedly rejected PETA’s call, adding that Mali would soon have company as two more elephants from Sri Lanka would be given to the city government.

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