Manila Zoo has announced that its beloved Asian elephant, Mali, has passed away.
In a video posted on the Manila Public Information Office's Facebook page, Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna announced that Mali died at 3:45 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 28 inside the recently reopened zoo.
"Kasalukuyan po ay ginagawa natin ang necropsy upang malaman natin ang tunay na dahilan ng kanyang pagkamatay," Lacuna said.
Serving as the Manila Zoo's main attraction, Mali is the treasured elephant that has been making children squeal at her humongous size for many years now. She was welcomed into the world in Sri Lanka in 1974 and has been a resident at the zoo since 1977.
In a previous interview with PhilSTAR L!fe, Manila Zoo tour guide Alekzssa Mirasol shared that the 50-year-old mammal is an important part of Philippine history as she was gifted by the government of Sri Lanka to former first lady Imelda Marcos and became the first elephant to walk the grounds of the Malacañang Palace.
According to Mirasol, Mali gets triggered by the color red easily because this makes her remember her mother being taken away by a red truck, which is what led to her hatred of the color.
In a report by The Philippine STAR, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) previously urged former Manila Mayor Isko Moreno to have Mali transferred to a wildlife sanctuary in Thailand, where she could be with other elephants.
They described Mali, which is the Philippines' only animal of its kind, to be the "world’s saddest elephant."
Moreno declined PETA's offer, however, reasoning that bringing Mali back to the wild "might not be ideal" because she "grew up in that environment." Mali has since been given a bigger enclosure in the renovated facility.
Asian elephants typically have a lifespan of around 60 to 70 years.