Mali is an elephant living by herself in a small pen in the Philippines. She is the only captive elephant at the Manila Zoo and has been kept there for 35 years. (She has a FaceBook page where people can make comments about freeing her.)
PETA is running a campaign to free Mali, so she can spend the last portion of her life in an animal sanctuary, meaning a place with some open space where she can walk. In the wild, elephants can walk up to 50 miles in a day (though this is rare). Most days they walk a couple of miles and stay near
a water source. They move about to look for food and to eat. Also, it seems reasonable to say they do it for the stimulation and enjoyment as well, just like many mammals do, including humans.
Most humans know instantly that something is wrong when they see an animal held in captivity for a long time – especially if the enclosure is very small.
Pamela Anderson has worked with PETA for years, and currently has extended an invitation to Philippines President Benigno Aquino III to discuss Mali’s future. She is 38 years-old and could live many more years, but being kept in captivity for so long has likely reduced her lifespan. In the wild, some Asian elephants have lived up to sixty years, but this is not so common.
Elephants living in zoos generally don’t live as long as they would in the wild, due to disease, obesity and stress. A research study of over 4,000 captive elephants found there is definitely an unhealthy effect associated with living in zoos.
Authorities in Manila reportedly are against transferring Mali out of the country, because they believe the trip will be too stressful and that she would probably die. This may be true, but keeping her in a tiny cage will also be stressful and has been harming her for decades. The cumulative toll of being caged alone will likely cause her to die prematurely, so they might as well take a chance to let her go free, in the event she survives and can enjoy the last part of her life in freedom.