The Loneliest Elephant in the World - Free Mali!

Lifeless and distressed

Mali is a 40-year-old elephant living in solitude at the Manila Zoo in the Philippines. She was captured from the wild as a baby in Sri Lanka. Since then, Mali has been living in unfit conditions in an enclosure resembling a concrete pit since 1977

In her concrete enclosure, Mali has not felt grass underneath her feet for 38 years. Without a soft ground to alleviate pressure, she is currently suffering from severe foot problems as a result. Foot issues are the leading cause of death among elephants living in captivity.

In the wild, or with a large range of freedom and natural conditions, Asian elephants can live up to 60 to 70 years. Zoo animals in captivity, however, rarely live passed the age of 20 due to stress, and health issues from diet, lack of exercise, and physical ailments.

Elephant experts that have surveyed Mali and her conditions confirm that she is under severe mental anguish and physical pain. It is heart breaking and a wonder that she has held on this long under such lonely, non-stimulating, and unhealthy conditions.

The 500 acre Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary (BLES) in Thailand is has already agreed to accept Mali in her retirement. BLES strives to rescue and protect the elephants of Thailand from abuse and extinction. They provide a safe home where they focus on individual survival and growth in numbers. BLES allows elephants to interact in a natural environment that encourages breeding. Their first calf was born in September of 2008!

Elephants freely interacting at Boon Lott Elephant Sanctuary
BLES is very dedicated to the well being of their elephants and others around Thailand. They scout  for elephants under distress, and do their best to make arrangements to retire them to the sanctuary, many times covering the cost.

As natural habitats of local wild life are lost to development, BLES buys land surrounding the sanctuary as it becomes available. Much of the 500 acres that they already own was deforested land that they have brought life back into.

You can help BLES and their wonderful dedication by sending them a donation, or adopting an elephant or other animal in their sanctuary.

In another plea for Mali's freedom, PETA has volunteered to cover all expenses related to her transport and preparation for the journey to the Boon Lott Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand. The only thing between Mali and making new friends to roam on grass with is the zoo’s obligation to let Mali retire. There are things you can do to help convince the Manila Zoo to release Mali.

Elephant holding its tail for comfort
Email Philippine authorities to call for Mali’s retirement HERE.

Sign a petition at Change.org - HERE 
They have not yet reached anywhere near the needed signatures! Please sign and share.

Lonely elephants have been known to hold their own tail to feel touched. Living passed the average lifespan of an elephant in captivity, Mali is holding on with hope that she will be able to roam and interact once again with a herd family.

Follow Free Mali on Facebook to keep updated on Mali's status and news on when she will be released.

Read more about Mali:


Apparently there is some controversy surrounding Mali. After posting this to my instagram, a frequent visitor to the zoo said Mali is not in the miserable condition she is reported to be in, nor does she appear to have foot problems. They also claim that she was not taken from the wild, but found at an animal orphanage. They also state that PETA was boycotting Thailand for their treatment of elephants, and PETA petitioning to send her to Boon Lott Elephant Sanctuary is fairly inconsistent, and hypocritical.

Personally, I don't find this suspicious, because the Boon Lott Elephant Sanctuary EXISTS to take in and help the mistreated elephants in Thailand. Obviously BLES is not happy with the treatment of elephants around Thailand as well.

I cannot find much conflicting information on the web myself, and am open to being referred links for more information. Is Mali's situation being exaggerated, or not?

Regardless of this confusing situation, I wish that this could be avoided in the future. If animals were sent to sanctuaries over zoos from the beginning, they would live healthier, longer, and happier lives without servitude. Many could possibly be introduced back into the wild early on. What kind of dangers do elephants in captivity face? Check out the following articles.

National Geographic

Elephants In Canada

The Telegraph
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