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Preservation works on Mali has started – Mayor Honey

Honey Lacuna and Bernie Ang
Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna and City Administrator Bernie Ang discuss plans for preserving Mali. (JERRY S. TAN)

WORK on preserving Mali, the lone elephant in the country who died recently, has already started.

This was learned from Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna, who said that she had in fact tasked City Administrator Bernie Ang to meet with the concerned people who are undertaking the said job, along with Parks and Recreation Bureau Roland Marino and zoo veterinarian Dr. Chip Domingo, in order to iron out the requirements and other details.

Under the plan, Lacuna said that a taxidermy will have to be done on Mali to preserve her skin along with her skeleton or bones.

Once done, Mali will be placed in a museum where visitors may get a glimpse of her, exactly the way she looked when she was alive.

The mayor said that for decades, Mali had been the star attraction at the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden or Manila Zoo and as such, Manilans have varied stories to tell about their experience with her.

“Mali is irreplaceable. I’m sure that just like me who grew up looking forward to see Mali when visiting the zoo, everyone has a special place in their hearts for her. This is why we want to perpetuate her memory by preserving her,” Lacuna said.

It will be recalled that Mali passed away on Tuesday afternoon after reaching the maximum life span for elephants.

“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.

Lacuna said that based on a report from Domingo, Mali had been diagnosed with many tumors that affected various 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.

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.

The city government has communicated with the government of Sri Lanka to inform their authorities of Mali’s death, “in the hope that they find it in their heart to entrust another elephant in our care.”

Itchie G. Cabayan
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