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    Posted January 15, 2014 by

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    ‘Help me free Mali of Manila’

    AN animal activist on Wednesday re-echoed the appeal to Philippine officials of Dr. Henry Melvyn Richardson to release Mali, the only elephant in the country, who has spent nearly 40 years behind the concrete walls of Manila Zoo.
    Animal activist Jason Baker said Richardson traveled to Manila to assess Mali’s health and communicated with zoo staff members and government officials about the importance of transferring her to a sanctuary.
    Baker re-echoed the appeal after the passing of Richardson, a devoted champion of the humane treatment of animals, a few months back.
    “Whether it was an emergency bear rescue or an urgent veterinary assessment of a crippled elephant who was being used and abused by a circus, Dr. Mel could always be counted on to drop everything in order to help assess the situation,” Baker said.
    He said Dr. Mel, as he was affectionately called by those who knew him, was also known for his patience and endless compassion, never once accepting an apology for a midnight call for assistance.
    “Those of us who worked with Mel know that the best way that we can honor his legacy is to take action for animals who are in trouble,” Baker concluded.
    On July 19 last year, world’s most famous singer and songwriter Paul McCartney also appealed to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to move forward with Mali’s transfer to a sanctuary.
    “Mali has been confined to a barren, decrepit enclosure for more than 36 years. History has been made while she has been within her concrete cell—two revolutions in the Philippines, six presidents, five popes, the fall of the Berlin wall, the marriage of the Prince of Wales and his son three decades later, earthquakes, tsunamis, Chernobyl, etc.—but her view has never changed,” McCartney said.
    He said Mali has no trees, no grass, no dirt beneath her feet—just the same walls confining her to a life sentence.
    Other notable celebrities who to stand up for Mali include Pamela Anderson, Ely Buendia, Morrissey, and Yusuf Islam (aka “Cat Stevens”).
    Elephant experts the world over have also been vocal, stating that Mali should be given a second chance at life in a sanctuary. Dr. Henry Melvyn Richardson, Lisa Kane, Dr. Jane Goodall, and Dr. Blair Csuti, among many others, have urged the Manila Zoo and the government of the Philippines to transfer Mali immediately to a sanctuary.
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