Bertha's death a reminder of Mali's misery.
The statement quoted in the report on Bertha the hippo supposedly having lived a happy life in Manila's zoo is false (Metro, 7/12/17). Manila Parks and Recreations Bureau Director James Albert Dichaves tried to refute Jason Baker, vice president of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), by claiming that Bertha was 'happy interacting with our zookeepers.' That statement is laughable. Has anyone really monitored the daily number of hours zookeepers romp around with the animals?
I visited Manila's zoo soon after the petitions for the release of Mali the elephant began around 2010. The zoo was in a pitiful state; there was hardly any greenery in any of the cages. The few zookeepers I saw seemed disinterested in the animals. I was told that a vet sometimes visited Mali, who has been in the zoo since she was given as a baby to Imelda Marcos by the Sri Lankan government.
To look at Mali's misery is heartbreaking. Mayors Alfredo Lim and Joseph Estrada ignored all demands by Peta to be allowed to take her to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. Absurd reasons were given for why she could not be shipped-that she was doing okay, and that she would be
unable to survive the trip, etc.
I would not be surprised if Mali will be the next death at Manila's pitiful zoo.