Local animal rights activists are calling for a ban on giving elephants as gifts to foreign countries and overseas-based beneficiaries. This request follows on a petition for the release of “Mali”, a Sri Lankan elephant that was given to the Manila Zoo more than 30 years ago. The animal was four years old at the [...]

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Ban export of Lanka’s wildlife, say animal rights groups

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Local animal rights activists are calling for a ban on giving elephants as gifts to foreign countries and overseas-based beneficiaries.

This request follows on a petition for the release of “Mali”, a Sri Lankan elephant that was given to the Manila Zoo more than 30 years ago. The animal was four years old at the time. International animal welfare activists have sent a letter to the Mayor of Manila asking that animal be released to a sanctuary in Thailand where she can spend the rest of her days.
Animal Rights activist Sagarika Rajakarunanayake says Mali should be returned to her homeland. “It is not just Mali but all animals sent overseas as state gifts. They suffer a lot through loneliness, lack of space and inexperienced with insufficient. Animals have the right to live in the country of their birth. There should be a law to ensure Sri Lankan animals are not sent to other countries.”

The Philippines authorities, however, have turned down the request to release Mali, claiming the elephant was doing well at the zoo, that it had lived there without problems for 38 years, and also because Mali is a “star” at the zoo and the reason many people visit the zoo.

Manila-based animal rights were quoted in other media as saying that “she (Mali) is definitely unwell. as much as her physical suffering … there is also psychological suffering.”

Last month elephant expert Dr. Henry Richardson reported to international media that the female elephant was suffering from potentially fatal foot problems and profound loneliness. He said transferring the ailing Mali to an elephant sanctuary would ensure the animal’s physical and psychological well-being.

An petition demanding the release of Mali has gone online. Legal officer and animal rights activist Lalani Perera said the Sri Lankan Government may not intervene on Mali’s behalf for the sake of maintaining good relations with the government of the Philippines. Mrs. Perera said the Government of Sri Lanka should look into the welfare of all animals it gives to foreign states and organizations.




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