Erap: Elephant Mali to get friends, stay at Manila Zoo

Posted at 01/10/2014 8:03 PM | Updated as of 01/10/2014 8:03 PM

MANILA - Elephant Mali will stay at the Manila Zoo, which will be turned into a world-class facility for animals, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said Friday.

Estrada said major changes and renovations will be done at the zoo starting this year.

He plans the Manila Zoo to be renovated similar to that of Singapore, where there are rides going around the facility.

He said the zoo will retain Mali and add more maintenance for the animals.

Estrada said foreign donors have agreed to finance the zoo's renovation and upkeep.

He earlier rejected appeals by international celebrities singer-songwriter Paul McCartney, Hollywood actress Pamela Anderson, British rock singer Morrissey, American rock band The Smashing Pumpkins, and Kapamilya stars Kim Chiu, Xian Lim, Gerald Anderson and Maja Salvador to transfer the Philippines's lone elephant from Manila's rundown zoo to a Thai sanctuary.

In an interview with Agence France-Presse, Estrada said sending the country’s lone elephant from the Manila Zoo “would be embarrassing.”

“It means we are not capable of taking care of one animal,” he said.

Instead of sending the elephant to Thailand, Mali will be given two companions courtesy of the government of Sri Lanka, Estrada said in a separate interview. - with reports from Zyann Ambrosio, ABS-CBN News; Agence France-Presse