PRISON ver­sus SANCTUARY

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Manila Zoo’s most out­spo­ken op­po­nents, per­haps, are mem­bers of the in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals (PETA). Its ac­tivists have con­tin­ued to protest Manila Zoo’s ex­pan­sion and up­keep, on the ba­sis that an­i­mals need to be kept in their nat­u­ral habi­tat. In 2007, then Manila Mayor Al­fredo Lim called PETA’S claims un­war­ranted, and as­serted that the “ut­most care is be­ing pro­vided to these an­i­mals,” ac­cord­ing to a news ar­ti­cle from GMA News TV. In 2009, PETA likened zoos to prisons, and again asked zoo vis­i­tors to boy­cott Manila Zoo. Af­ter a blog­ger posted pho­tos of the de­crepit state of Manila Zoo in 2011, PETA crit­i­cized the al­lot­ment of gov­ern­ment funds to the im­pris­on­ment of an­i­mals. Most no­tably, in 2012, PETA called for the trans­fer of Manila Zoo’s only ele­phant, Mali, to an ele­phant sanctuary in Thai­land. Mali has lived in Manila Zoo since she was do­nated by the Sri Lankan gov­ern­ment to for­mer Pres­i­dent Fer­di­nand Mar­cos in 1977. Dubbed “the world’s loneli­est ele­phant,” Mali is still a res­i­dent of Manila Zoo, af­ter PETA’S pleas -- with the sup­port of in­sti­tu­tions such as the World So­ci­ety for the Pro­tec­tion of An­i­mals and fig­ures such as Dr. Jane Goodall -- fell on deaf ears.

Vis­i­tors take part in the Os­trich en­rich­ment ac­tiv­ity

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