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Famed French Actor Tells Philippine Ambassador It's Her Country's 'Duty' to Retire Beleaguered Elephant to Spacious Sanctuary

For Immediate Release:

October 18, 2012

Manila — Iconic international film star Brigitte Bardot has sent a letter to Cristina G. Ortega, the Philippine ambassador to France, urging her to convey to Philippine authorities the message that Mali, an ailing and solitary elephant who has been confined to a small enclosure at the Manila Zoo for 35 years, should be transferred immediately to a sanctuary in Thailand. In the letter, Bardot—the latest high-profile celebrity to join PETA's call for Mali's release—points out that elephants in zoos suffer both physically and psychologically when confined and separated from other elephants.

"Elephants are animals who are totally unfit for captivity," writes Bardot, whose organization, the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, works in behalf of animals and has garnered the support of millions around the world. "The life expectancy of Asian elephants is estimated at 70 years, so Mali has lived half of her life, and after all these years of exploitation and slavery, it is a matter of duty to give her back her freedom."

In her current environment, Mali is denied everything that's natural and important to her. But in a sanctuary, she would have acres in which to roam, rivers and ponds to bathe in, and the crucial company of other elephants.

A growing number of elephant experts, including Dr. Jane Goodall and world-renowned veterinarian Dr. Henry Richardson, who in June determined that Mali suffers from potentially fatal foot problems, are calling for Mali's transfer to a sanctuary. An online petition for her release has garnered almost 40,000 signatures.

Brigitte Bardot's letter to Ambassador Cristina G. Ortega is available upon request. For more information, please visit