Manila, Philippines --- Models and celebrities yesterday bared their bodies to help secure freedom for Mali, the ailing elephant at Manila Zoo.
Holding letters that spell out, "Naked Truth: Mali the Elephant is Suffering," the nine models posed for photographers at the DPI XL Studios in Makati City.
Posing for the cause were Geneva Cruz, Daiana Menezes, Bianca Valerio, Amanda Griffin Jacob, Sheena Vera Cruz, Julia Sniegowski, Ornusa Cadness, Mia Ayesa and Sanya Smith.
The plight of the elephant has drawn attention here and abroad with an online petition gaining 60,000 signatures calling for the transfer of the elephant from solitary confinement at the zoo to a spacious sanctuary in Thailand.
Despite the international outcry and Mali's failing health, the government has yet to take action to facilitate her transfer.
"36 years is an eternity. I can't even imagine what Mali has been through. We need to save her before it's too late," says Smith, daughter of rock legend Pepe Smith. "She's been stuck in a concrete pen, staring at the same walls, longer than I have even been alive. Her suffering is unimaginable."
"The stars are aligning for Mali's freedom," says PETA Asia Campaigns Manager Rochelle Regodon. "After enduring 36 years of confinement to what amounts to a prison cell, Mali deserves a second chance at life at a sanctuary that can give her opportunities to socialize with other elephants, roam in natural surroundings, and finally receive the expert veterinary care that she so badly needs."
PETA said the elephant has been forced to endure solitary confinement for more than three decades and is suffering from failing health.
The animal rights activist group claimed that Mali has been denied proper veterinary care for the entire time that she has been at the zoo.
Elephant expert Dr. Henry Melvyn Richardson, who has more than 40 years of experience working with elephants, has appealed to the Manila Zoo to take action in
Mali is suffering from debilitating foot ailments, the leading cause of death in captive elephants, and Richardson has determined that her condition has grown worse since his initial examination in May 2012.
Mali suffers from cracked nails and foot pads and overgrown cuticles. These problems are a direct result of decades of not