World’s saddest elephant dies in captivity

Mali, the “world’s saddest elephant” passed away on November 28, 2023. A resident of the Manila Zoo, she was the sole captive elephant in the Philippines. News of her living alone raised concerns among conservationists and many prominent people and organizations campaigned for her release. In the last days, she suffered from cancer and was in agonizing pain.

KnowALLedge Plus:

>Originally from Sri Lanka, she was given as a gift to the Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos by the Government of Sri Lanka in 1977. She has been in the Manila Zoo since then.

>Mali caught the attention of Paul McCartney (of the Beatles) in 2013. The singer-songwriter worked with PETA to raise awareness about the elephant. He even penned a letter to the then Philippine President Benigno Aquino III urging the transfer of Mali to an elephant sanctuary in neighbouring Thailand.

>Other celebrities, including actress Pamela Anderson and reputed conservationist Jane Goodall joined the effort to “free Mali.”

>It is said Asian elephants, who are usually smaller than their African cousins, have an average lifespan of about 70 years in the wild. In captivity, it’s about 80 years.

>The oldest Asian elephant in captivity was Chengalloor Dakshayani, a female Asian elephant owned by Travancore Devaswom Board. She died in 2019 at 88 years old.

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