Monday, July 25, 2011


I was watching the news tonight at TV-Patrol of ABS-CBN. A segment reported by Noli de Castro of a 37 year old elephant in Manila Zoo named Mali. According to the report she is the only remaining elephant in the Philippines, and the group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is requesting the zoo management to send Mali to an Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee in the U.S. The elephant was an orphan at 3 years old, after her mother died in a trapped in Sri Lanka. She was donated by the Sri Lankan government to the Children of Manila and been in Manila Zoo since then. She is a sweet elephant according to the caretaker. He then added that one time a Nun was watching him feeding Mali and asked him why the elephant is alone and that she needs to have a partner to be happy. Then the caretaker replied, "Sister why did you choose to be alone?" The Nun replied "Single Blessedness" then she left him. Noli de Castro was laughing after the report. The caretaker was then asked the same question by Noli, then the caretaker answered (while he was rubbing a Popsicled ice cream on the elephant's mouth) "I think she is happy here".

My opinion: The only reason we have zoos is to cater our curiosity on animals, to educate us about their character, and to free our mind from the myth of reading them on books. I don't agree with some 'OA' logic of PETA but I strongly believe that these animals have born rights to move around like humans. To meet their own kind, to mate and have family of their own unless of course they claim and confirm their single blessedness ^_^. I agree, that the zoo is one way to keep them safe from any harm of their natural habitat but we have no right to enclose them in a small space, defying their freedom in choosing and picking up their own food, and freedom of running on their own limits. I hope that zoo management if they want to keep animals they must see to it that they can emulate 100% of the real settings not obviously enclosed. The caretaker is so unfair to talk in behalf of the animal judging it to be happy where no actual measure of happiness can be gauged. Let us not be too self centered to satisfy our own curiosity on animals. Technology today is an artificial satisfaction. If we want to see them in real, then we have go to the sanctuary not on a confined environment.


Sacha Chua said...

Hi there! =) Thanks for writing about Maali and Manila Zoo. My dad's the "caretaker" you mentioned - he's actually a volunteer, and has been helping out at the zoo for the past ten years. You might think it's hard to tell if an elephant is happy or unhappy, but she (yup, she's a she) is actually really good at communicating her emotions. Just check out my dad's stories of what she likes and doesn't like. She can throw quite the tantrum or make tampo when she doesn't like something. When she likes something, you'll know it for sure - like mangoes and playing in the sand. I hope you enjoy getting to know Maali more! It would be great if she had a better space, of course - something with lots of mango trees! - but she's well-loved and well taken care of here too. Thanks for caring!

heyner said...

Hi Sacha! I saw your link it was awesome! It's so great of him being a volunteer your Dad is a hero. Who would do the same effort he is giving to Manila Zoo. Last time I was there I was 6 years old :-(

I never intend to malign the caretaker on my blog or whatsoever, I hope you understand that as an ordinary person looking at the big picture, I wonder how humans would know 100% the feelings of an elephant after browsing your blog somehow I can see curves and meaning. Send my regards to Mr. Chua and it is an honor that you gave attention on my blog I thought nobody is reading this. Thanks for correcting the gender lol So the name is Maali, thanks! I seldom write, so obviously I replied almost a month delayed. I hope our government can find sponsors to make renovations and sanctuaries for the animals in Manila Zoo. Ciao!