International music superstar Charice — who is also known for playing Sunshine Corazon on Glee — is using her powerful voice to speak up for Mali, the solitary and lonely elephant languishing in a barren enclosure at the Manila Zoo.
She has teamed up with PETA Asia for a brand-new mug shot–style print ad in which she appears holding a sign that reads, “Charice Wants Mali Freed,” in support of PETA Asia’s campaign to transfer Mali to a lush sanctuary where she can finally be treated for the potentially fatal foot ailments that she has suffered from for years.
In addition to starring in the new print ad, which can be found here, Charice also stars in a video public service announcement (available here) in which she calls for Mali’s freedom. “I just can’t imagine how it feels for Mali to be alone and not getting [the] attention that Mali deserves,” she says. “And not only that, she’s not getting some serious and important care that she actually really needs.”
Mali has received essentially no veterinary care for more than 36 years, leaving her to endure constant pain stemming from debilitating foot problems. In addition, elephants are highly social animals who naturally live in herds and suffer greatly in the absence of other elephants. Mali is all alone, making her transfer even more urgent.
Even if the elephant exhibit at the Manila Zoo were to be doubled or tripled in size, it would still not be adequate to house one elephant, never mind additional ones. While zoos around the world have spent up to US$56 million (the equivalent of 2.4 billion pesos) on attempts at more appropriately sized elephant exhibits, more and more zoos have recognized that the needs of these complex and intelligent animals cannot be met in captivity. These facilities are transferring elephants to sanctuaries and closing their elephant exhibits.