Gifted Lankan elephant dies

An elephant gifted to Pakistan by Sri Lanka has died after officials at an Islamabad Zoo drank the wine that was meant to be given to the animal, Pakistan media reports said.

According to zookeeper Muhammad Bilal, who was sacked after the death of a female elephant “Saheli” on May 1, liquor is given to elephants in order to tame them.

However, the Director and Deputy Director and their staff would drink all the wine brought in. He said the lack of wine resulted in the death of Saheli, the Pakistan media reported last week.

The 22-year-old female elephant Saheli, gifted by the government of Sri Lanka in 1991, died at the Islamabad Zoo on May 1.

The average age of an elephant ranges from 60 to 70 years and sometimes it can even go up to 90 to 100 years.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines an appeal has been made to release an elephant gifted by Sri Lanka.

Rock music legend, Morrissey last week appealed to Philippines President Benigno Aquino and said that Mali, 37, deserved a reprieve from a lifetime of confinement. Animal rights group PETA said that Mali, born in Sri Lanka in 1974, was only 3 years old when she was ripped from her home and family and shipped to the zoo.

A report on Mali released by PETA said that in the wild, elephants like Mali live and travel in close-knit family herds and roam up to 80 kilometers a day – activity that is essential to their well-being.

“Mali would browse and graze, pluck fruit and leaves from trees, take mud baths, and spend hours a day swimming and playing in the water,” the report says.

The report explains, “At the Manila Zoo, Mali spends her days alone in a barren enclosure, which provides her with no opportunity to engage in any of the activities that elephants need for their physical, mental, and emotional health.” Thus Mali is said to be in a state of profound depression. (Colombo Gazette)