Paul McCartney asks Aquino to free elephant

Posted at 07/19/2013 4:47 PM | Updated as of 07/19/2013 4:59 PM

MANILA – Singer-songwriter Paul McCartney, who gained worldwide fame as a member of The Beatles, has joined calls for the release of an elderly elephant in the Manila Zoo.

According to the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), McCartney sent a letter to President Benigno Aquino III asking him to transfer Mali to a sanctuary in Thailand.

“I have great regard for governments that intervene on behalf of animals, just as yours did with the May 2012 directive ordering that Mali be evaluated and considered for transfer. That said, time is passing, and it has been more than a year since that directive was issued – yet Mali seems no closer to enjoying her well-deserved retirement at an approved sanctuary,” McCartney wrote, as quoted by PETA.

“I have heard from my friends at PETA that various government authorities are continuing to deny that Mali’s welfare should be within their jurisdiction.”

“With the stroke of a pen, you can bring an end to her suffering, and I urge you, with all my heart, to direct that Mali be given that joy now,” he added.

Mali is a solitary elephant at the Manila Zoo said to be suffering from a potentially fatal foot problem and profound loneliness.

Last May, PETA tapped Hollywood actress Pamela Anderson to support its cause, with the “Baywatch” star asking President Aquino on a date so they can “talk about how we can help Mali.”

Anderson’s request, however, was referred to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

Aside from McCartney and Anderson, a number of local and international celebrities and experts have expressed their support for Mali’s transfer. Some of them include British rock singer Morrissey, American rock band The Smashing Pumpkins, and Kapamilya stars Kim Chiu, Xian Lim, Gerald Anderson and Maja Salvador.

Erap rejects Mali’s transfer

But former President Joseph Estrada, who is now the mayor of Manila, rejected calls for the release of Mali.

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.

He added that Mali’s enclosure will also be renovated along with the other facilities of the Manila Zoo.