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No public viewing for Mali, plans for preservation underway – Mayor Honey

Honey Lacuna on Mali preservation
Mayor Honey Lacuna turns emotional as she announced plans to have Mali preserved in a museum so that Manila Zoo visitors may still have a glimpse of her. With mayor Honey is veterinarian Dr. Chip Domingo who discussed Mali's cause of death. (JERRY S. TAN)

Mayor Honey Lacuna said that there will be no public viewing for Mali, the lone elephant in the country who died inside the Manila Zoo Tuesday afternoon, as she announced that the city government will soon communicate with the government of Sri Lanka to inform them of Mali’s death “in the hope that they find it in their heart to entrust another elephant in our care.”

During a press conference held at the Manila Zoo, Lacuna also raised the possibility of a taxidermy being done on Mali and of preserving her bones to allow the zoo visitors to still see her, being the only elephant in the entire Philippines.

“Alam nyo naman po, prized possession namin si Mali, siya po ang star attraction dito sa Manila Zoo so nagsisimula na kaming magkaroon ng talks with the experts kung paano magagawang mai-preserve si Mali at mailagay siya sa museum natin dito,” the mayor said, as she turned emotional to what she said was a great loss for the city.

“Talaga pong nakakalungkot dahil lahat tayo ay may kanya-kanyang kwento kay Mali. Ako po nung bata pa po ako, ito po ang naging regular naming pasyalan… dito kami dinadala ng aming magulang…kaya nung irehabilitate namin ito we made sure na malaki ang ikutan niya, siya ang pambungad na pambati namin dito sa Manila Zoo,” Lacuna added.

Citing the opinions of experts, Lacuna also explained that while many have been asking to return Mali to her natural habitat, it would not be ideal specially since she had been in a captive state since she was turned over to the Manila Zoo at a very young age of 11 months old, adding that it would be difficult for her to adapt anymore.

Caretakers of Mali
Photo shows the two caretakers of Mali. (JERRY S. TAN)

It was learned that Mali had been diagnosed with many tumors that affected many organs and caused too much pressure in her body and heart which can no longer pump enough blood to sustain her life. Mali has already exceeded her maximum life span of 40 to 45 years old, having died at the age of 50.

“Sa ating mga kapwa Manilenyo at mga kababayang Pilipino na napamahal na po kay VishwaMali, wag kayo mag-alala, hindi lang po sa mga bata kundi pati sa matatanda, kami po sa City of Manila tya di po titigil na makahanap ng panibago pong pambungad na pambati sa inyo,” as she pointed to the frontage featuring Mali as the top attraction.

The lady mayor said that the city government will also do everything to best preserve the memory of Mali so that zoo visitors may still have a glimpse of the beloved elephant.

The enclosure where Mali had been kept inside the zoo was covered with tarpaulins as she remained inside for necropsy. During the press conference, Lacuna’s spokesperson Atty. Princess Abante requested the media to respect the privacy of Mali by no longer attempting to take pictures of her lifeless body.

Lacuna said that based on records, the care and rearing of Mali was entrusted by then President Ferdinand Marcos to the city government of Manila then headed by Mayor Ramon Bagatsing.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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