House panel supports Mali's transfer to elephant sanctuary-A A +A
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
MANILA -- The House committee on natural resources approved Wednesday a resolution supporting the immediate transfer of Mali, the elephant currently housed at the Manila Zoo, to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.
The City Government of Manila, however, opposes any move to transfer the ailing elephant as it wants to keep Mali "where she belongs."
Several lawmakers and non-government organizations had sought for the transfer of the 38-year-old elephant because of her supposed worsening condition at the city-run zoo.
"We propose that Mali be brought to a special sanctuary, not in our country, but in another place where it can be provided the necessary attention and medical care that she needs," Gabriela party-list Representative Luzviminda Ilagan, one of the resolution's authors, said.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) said it is willing pay the cost of transferring Mali to Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand.
Mariel Jana Sevilla of Peta said Mali's physical health is in jeopardy and that her condition will continue to get worse if she stays at the Manila Zoo.
Sevilla said Mali's foot problem – the leading cause of death in elephants – cannot be attended to because there is no foot care expert in the Philippines
John Chua, a volunteer of Mali, also opposed the elephant's transfer, citing the possible risks of travelling Mali to Thailand.
"If the quarantine finds one virus, she has to go back or be destroyed. I might not be an expert but I know how she feels," Chua told the committee. "If you think you can take care of Mali, help me now."
In May 2012, President Benigno Aquino III ordered the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to evaluate if Mali should be transferred to a sanctuary.
Representatives of BAI, however, reported to the committee that they are yet to start the evaluation because they are having difficulties in extracting blood sample from Mali. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)