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10 More Reasons the Manila Zoo Should Close

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Animals at the Manila Zoo are housed in small barren cages that can’t compare to their natural habitats. Many exhibit neurotic behavior, such as constantly pacing, swaying their heads, and walking in small circles. Because of the lack of funding and resources, the zoo’s infrastructure has deteriorated and conditions for animals have grown steadily worse.

The pictures below are of animals who have been victims of the Manila Zoo. Please take a look and take action today to save more animals from the same fate:

All photos: Rommel Manuel

Posted by Jason Baker


  1. Colleen McKenney...
    July 15th, 2011, 8:44 am

    This makes me feel so sad – I am a contributor to PETA – please give a lot of attention to closing this terrible zoo so that the animals have a chance to live out their lives in better conditions.

  2. Danuta Watola...
    July 16th, 2011, 7:40 pm


  3. jerry bartolome...
    July 19th, 2011, 11:50 pm

    hi guys. im a filipino, i hope you will understand me here in anyway…
    the phils is a poor country, we filipinos have little to spare….
    we would also love to see animals and the manila zoo is a great place for this.
    the zoo provides knowledge about the animals to everyone, young and old…
    also gives info about habitat and caring for them…
    gives the experience to see them in person instead of thru tv and books…

    i have been in 3 zoos here in the phils. the other two are private zoo’s, will give you the experience to see this amazing animals for a sum (10plusus$; 5us$)
    in manila zoo, less than a dollar… a great difference for us filipinos…

    will you now understand?????
    pls stop the closure petition….
    think of other ways instead…..

  4. Harvey V. Chua...
    July 22nd, 2011, 11:27 pm

    I am a Filipino, and I realize that the problems of the Manila Zoo are a microcosm of the problems that ail my country. Instead of asking to close down our zoo, why not help to improve the situation here? (After all, you would not close down our country just because we are poor?) My husband, John Chua, has been taking care of Ma’ali, the elephant at Manila Zoo, for the past ten years. He is a zoo volunteer. He consults with elephant experts on how to enrich her life. Ma’ali is well taken care of. She is loved. Many people in the Philippines, especially poor people (since zoo visitors are mostly poor people) and children with disabilities (check out “Photography with a Difference” or “John Chua” on Facebook) love Ma’ali. If you don’t know what to believe – the lies that PETA spreads about Ma’ali or what I am saying here, look us up when you are coming to visit our zoo, and we will introduce you to Ma’ali.

  5. Ching...
    July 23rd, 2011, 4:38 am

    Dear PETA and readers,

    Please get to know Maali first before you jump to any conclusions. She is a smart and wonderful elephant who has built close relationships with good friends in the Philippines. Go to meet her. Spend two weekends visiting her.

    If you can’t visit her, read her story here:

    After you’ve met her and when you can count yourself as one of her friends — then ask yourself whether taking her away from her home is the right thing to do.

    If you care about the animals in Manila Zoo — don’t close it down, let’s work together to make it better.

  6. Peter...
    July 23rd, 2011, 7:30 am

    I visited the Manila Zoo in 2009. It is a HELLHOLE! It’s the worst “zoo” I have ever seen. Those of you who support the place, shame on you! Trade places with the animals and see how you like it. Maali has nothing but a small island of concrete to walk around in circles on. If this is what people in your country consider humane, I feel sorry for you. But even more sorry for the animals.

    ps – you all are obviously more interested in being “entertained” than helping poor animals like Maali. Very sad. Maali should be in places like these; be:http://www.elephants.com/ and http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/

  7. robin yates...
    July 23rd, 2011, 7:37 am

    the elephant is obviously suffering from extreme boredom, there is nothing there for her to stimulate her mind, the pool is usually low in water and not enough to bathe in. I am sure people do love her but their love is poorly focused. Watch an elephant bathing in a river with its mahout,,,,,,,,,then compare this sad and lonely beast.Manila needs a big injection of money now ! Or be ever shamed when compared to other zoos

  8. Bibs Figueroa...
    July 23rd, 2011, 8:58 am

    I think you have gone too far in the persecution of Maali. Why dont you focus your sights on those who have posted the animal crush – the stamping of helpless dogs, rabbits etc by a woman wearing high heels? That is definitely not an ethical treatment, i hope you agree. Closing the zoo is not a solution. You should work with the zoo management, the volunteersfor the betterment of the animals there. What do you propose to do with the animals – euthanize them? And we are getting very suspicious of your hidden agenda. We may be a poor country and the govt swamped with people welfare issues that state run zoos get the losing end. But it is an old zoo that heroically tries to work with the limited budget they have. That zoo stands on 5 hectares of prime land that still has trees. There are only a few pockets of land like this within the city and we are suspecting an underlying goal of commercializing the land. You should get your act together and research. The zoo’s mini forest is also haven to Manila’s fauna (the ones who have been born and bred in the connecting lagoons in Paranaque). I think the only good thing you’re doing here is making awareness for the zoo and Maali so that more support for their upkeep is coming its way. Dont begrudge the private individuals and companies who provide volunteer work for the animals there. You should work with them and not deny dialogue with them. For example, why would you want to move Maali to the US sanctuary, when you should know that Maali is an Asian elephant not used to that climate? Maali was donated by the Sri Lankan children to the Filipino children when she was 3 yrs old. She is now 34. A change in environment will potentially kill her. But for the past 10 years, private individuals have been supporting her and the zoo. Filipino youth have formed a volunteer group to help see to the animals there. There is a vast improvement in their health. Zoo vets are on call 24 hours a day. Where were you PETA all these years? I think you will have a better success with your advocacy of ethical treatment, if you also remember to treat humans – the volunteers, the children, especially those with disabilities who find joy in Maali, the people who work with the zoo – with the ethics that you claim to uphold.

  9. J> Hazle...
    July 23rd, 2011, 10:35 am

    I can understand Phillipino people wanting to have animals to look at in a “Zoo”….but the conditions in this zoo is nothing less than torture for these poor animals…and “looking” at them is very sad indeed, not educational, or informative as : quote “J> Bartholome states in his comment “…the zoo provides knowledge about the animals to everyone, young and old, also gives info about habitat and caring for them”. I am confused by his statement, arguably, isn’t that one of the very reasons for closure; lack of appropriate habitat and proper care and attention?

  10. Mediatrix Paraiso...
    July 23rd, 2011, 1:05 pm

    I agree, closing the zoo is not the BEST solution to this. A lot of modern, thinking, concern Filipinos and Filipinas I suppose will be very much willing to VOLUNTEER and spend time to CLEAN the place, rehabilitate, plant trees, or even look after the animals (make sure they are well fed and cleaned). We just need a LEADER who is willing to start it, someone who can formulate a concrete PLAN of action for the betterment of all people and animals concerned. Someone who can make a stand and move people to action. We need leaders, we need volunteers, not words that do not help.
    I am a volunteer.

  11. Mark...
    July 23rd, 2011, 3:26 pm

    Jerry, just because a nation’s people is poor that does not give them the right or excuse to run a sub-standard zoo in which animals live in squalid conditions. What you’re basically saying is the animals should suffer for the shortcomings of the man-made society? What a selfish thing to think.

    Furthermore, I’m all for learning about the animals on our planet, but visiting a zoo is quite possibly the worst way to learn anything about them. You’d be much better off going on an actual safari to see animals in their OWN environment, or – since you said most people cannot afford much – learn about them through books, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, National Geographic Channel, or even the internet. You think seeing a depressed, neurotic tigress pacing back and forth in a small dirty cage is going to teach kids ANYthing about the majesty of this animal? Get serious.

    Zoos in general are a BAD place to learn about animals and I’m against all zoos, but a worn-down facility like Manila zoo is especially repulsive to me.

    FYI, I live in Manila.

  12. chander kumar soni...
    July 23rd, 2011, 4:11 pm

    shocked by philippines.

  13. Jane Davidson...
    July 23rd, 2011, 9:32 pm

    Why keep animals as prisoners in such horrible conditions?

  14. Mary Rausch...
    July 24th, 2011, 7:32 am

    Please close the Mannila zoo. The animals are living in substandard conditions and they deserve better. Release thses animals to sanctuaries to live out the rest of their lives in peace and safety with plenty to eat and a clean place to live.

  15. Cherry M....
    July 24th, 2011, 8:29 am

    Horrible conditions for those poor animals. What will become of them when the zoo closes??????

    Signed the petition.

  16. Debrah...
    July 24th, 2011, 9:26 am

    Animals should not have to live in miserable conditions just so you poor Phillipino people can look at them. Where is your compassion for the animals? You seem to care only for yourselves.

  17. Anna...
    July 25th, 2011, 4:43 pm

    It’s horible!

  18. hazelpamela...
    July 29th, 2011, 12:37 pm

    Be a volunteer! If the zoo closes and the animals are released in the wild how do you think they’d survive? They’re not trained to hunt. Whats worst is people would hunt them down for food or worst to sell them.

    Before signing a petition to close down the zoo..THINK FIRST! I hope you all read sacha chua’s blog about his father’s care for Maali the elephant at Manila Zoo. If we all be inspired and act like Mr. Chua at Manila Zoo you wouldn’t be blabbing about these things here. Its easy to sign a petition but can you volunteer? Devote your time and efforts for the care and welfare of the animals? THINK…

  19. xcharmcandyx...
    August 2nd, 2011, 1:42 pm

    manila zoo in the 70s compared to the modern day manila zoo, pretty much manila zoo looks better now than in the 70s according to someone I know who has spent her childhood in the 70s and no, I’m not lying, search pictures of manila zoo in the 70s/80s/90s in google, you’ll see the difference and instead of closing the zoo, why not donate to them so that they could improve their facilities. use your common sense before making big decisions.

  20. Marty...
    August 4th, 2011, 12:47 pm

    Visited this zoo once and was DISGUSTED!!! The conditions these animals live in is APPALLING!! I’m no animal activist but even I was compelled to respond to this thread. SHUT DOWN THIS ZOO!!! Place the animals in better zoos either overseas or in better equipped zoos in Asia. Don’t fall for the positive comments written here, they are trying to mask the ugly truth!

  21. James Lau Jia Jun...
    August 6th, 2011, 9:16 pm

    We humans have the knowledge to help animals,not use it us killing!!!!

  22. Rachel...
    August 19th, 2011, 4:16 pm

    Hope some devices or facilities can substitute zoos totally. What about Holographic Projection technology?

  23. jerry bartolome...
    August 20th, 2011, 10:44 am


    congratulations if youve been visiting other countries to study diff animals and have spare money to acquire cable network services.
    as u’ve said, your from manila. well i believe you’ve heard of “cartimar”. why wont you do your yupping there and raise your concerns there first???
    and to you guys outside of the philippines, why wont you dig deeper first before reacting…
    i like peta before, but i think peta isnt doing a better investigation before snooping around.
    and to you ms katrina lugartos (the “peta spokesperson”) whos been modeling around on lettuce bikini and outside of manila zoo, why wont you visit cartimar instead of looking for more live tv exposure. and i assure you, youll need all of filipino peta members to help you shout 24/7.

  24. Nikoy A....
    August 20th, 2011, 9:19 pm

    Animal Liberation has always been my advocacy, and everytime I passes by the Manila Zoo (my school is just near there), there is always a pinch in my heart. There’s a time when I asked in my mind ‘MAGKANO BA ANG MANILA ZOO?’ (How much is the Manila Zoo) So that I can change it to an animal sanctuary or better yet return our animal friends to their natural habitats.

  25. M....
    September 15th, 2011, 9:09 am

    All I see here, are a lot of sad,bored animals that should be either still in the wild, or, at best, in an excellent zoo like our Taronga Zoo, in Sydney.

  26. fayette...
    September 20th, 2011, 4:51 pm

    Im against zoo’s period…let alone sub-standard excuses for human entertainment. These animals deserve to live the life they were born to live…not imprisioned for human short comings.

  27. Esmee Joseph...
    October 24th, 2011, 6:20 pm

    Seriously how can you people think it’s not right to close the zoo?!?! The zoo is located in the middle of the city. I’ve been to the Manila Zoo and i could here the horrible sounds of cars honking and bad traffic outside from inside the zoo. Imagine these animals taken out of their peaceful habitats and put into this concrete jungle, the amount of stress they are under! The zoo is so badly maintained! Filthy and dirty every where! The ostrich had no feathers when i saw it 2 weeks ago and one of the crocodile’s leg had an open wound and was not treated at all. Other than that, the monitor lizards’ enclosure are so filthy plus their lips are all infected and slowly rotting off!! How can you still agree to keep the zoo open?!! Clearly you have NOT seen the condition of the zoo today! p.s the zoo to educate people about animals???? The signboards in the zoo are no where near informative nor impressive. The people would NOT learn anything for this so called “zoo”!

  28. Sonia Ackhurst...
    October 25th, 2011, 7:16 am

    Please save these innocent animals and return them to their natural habitats to live the life they were meant to live.

    It is obvious that Manila Zoo is incapable of housing these animals properly and do not have the funds for proper care.

    I pray every day for the animals of this world and for human kind to value their existence. These animals need their dignity.

  29. Kate cassidy...
    January 13th, 2012, 7:59 am

    This is so cruel….please return these beautiful animals to their natural habitat…Animals should never be in cages and you have no right to do this…..Have you got any respect for animals? Are you not aware that they feel pain and suffer loneliness..set them free…the world is watching!

  30. wendy...
    January 13th, 2012, 9:57 am

    There has to be an international law to protect and save animals from misery, torture, and hell on earth. That goes for people too. Not only laws, but to enforce them and to educate to bring about the necessary humane changes required to live a fulfilled life. I must change for the better in many ways. Change begins with me. We must all help each other. At least, try to. Thank you.

  31. May...
    January 13th, 2012, 10:00 pm

    These animals should live in their own wild environment naturally ! This is their own given right to live their wild life . Who Are we to take this right from them n make them live as we want ? Please make a law to close every zoo in the world and return all of these animals back to their own natural life . We are against zoos !!!!!

  32. jessa...
    January 13th, 2012, 11:26 pm

    HOW CAN YOU ENJOY LOOKING AT THEM. YES, THEY ARE AMAZING ANIMALS. But they do not belong here, we all know that. THEY are not PRISONERS.
    Let us set them free
    LLet us not make them suffer so that we can enjoy and learn something watching them in this poor zoo.
    Yes, there may be kind-hearted people who volunteers to help clean and take care of these animals but doesn’t reallt solve the problem
    I cant even imagine living inside one of those cages..

  33. gaurav...
    January 16th, 2012, 4:14 am

    no matter what,animals cant be treated so brutally.you cant sacrifice these animals for your own interest.this is ridiculous.lets be united in stopping this menace.
    just stand up .

  34. Darwin Apuntar...
    February 12th, 2012, 5:55 am

    Cruelty to animals is a NO NO…. However, it is easier to say to have the zoo closed than to do something to help, isn’t it. If your not from the Philippines, then you don’t know how difficult it is to run anything that is government funded. Have any of you tried to help the zoo at all anyway? or you just bluntly say “Close the zoo”?

    Manila Zoo, I believe don’t have enough staff to accommodate the needs of this animals. Why? Budget. So if you really care about this animals… DONATE. If you don’t have monetary means to help this animals (or you think that the money you will donate will not put in good use), then volunteer. Here is how – http://www.manilazoo.org/?page_id=73

  35. Niranimal...
    February 27th, 2012, 6:23 pm

    I don’t understand why do you need to compare Philippines’ poor economy with this zoo? Zoos deny everything what animals love to do. Even if the “conditions” of this zoo is improved, the animals gonna be kept in cages & in chains like slaves. What is the use of providing cages & chains made of gold? Move these animals to a sanctuary & rehabilitate them. Kids can learn more about animals thro wildlife documentaries, bird watching, etc. Zoos teach wrong things to children lk its ‘okay’ to keep someone in a cage/chain just bcoz they are inferior to to you & Its ‘okay’ to ‘use’ other beings for entertainment.

  36. Tracy...
    March 24th, 2012, 5:34 pm

    Dear concerned animal lovers,

    You are bashing on the Manila Zoo and asking for it to be closed when you could donate some money and supplies for the betterment of these animals or volunteer to help care for them. You go around carrying sign boards, wearing skimpy outfits, saying ‘Close the zoo’? What an immature way to solve a problem. Will doing so help the animals? And suppose the Philippines does close the zoo, where would the animals go? Have you already found ‘humane’ animal reserves willing to take them in?

    The Manila Zoo’s facilities are like this because of the lack of funding. The Philippines is a poor country, saying so does not mean that I am comparing the country’s economy to this zoo, what I mean is that the government could not generate enough money for the animals without leading the country’s population into further poverty.

    And instead of ‘helping’ by thinking of more bizarre, farfetched ways to protest, why not solve this problem in a diplomatic manner? Why not urge other animal welfare groups and zoos to help fund this zoo? Or are you too greedy or too stubborn to do so?

    Instead of hating, try helping.

    A concerned 15-year-old Filipina

  37. lilac...
    April 11th, 2012, 12:04 am

    The top 10 zoos in america

    whats the diff?
    sufficient funds.. insufficient funds
    big cage- small cage
    plenty of volunteers- few volunteers

    what are their commonalities?
    They are all on the so called “zoos” and not in the “wild..”
    they are also in the cage maybe not literary but still not in the wilds. they are in the fake forest.. that’s why for me its still counted as cage because they are still not in their real home and free.

    you want them to set free right?? why not make that big Zoos do it first so people in the Philippines can’t complain and the small ones like zoos in the Philippines do the same.. can you do it?I bet you can’t

    So please lets do our best and help manila zoo improve not close,like the 10 zoos in America..
    we saw that the Volunteers in Manila zoo really loves the animals and do their best to take care them.. They just need more attention a good attention not like this.. Its hurt when you give all your best but still people don’t notice it.
    If you want to donate but you don’t trust them then maybe you should buy things like paint for the walls food supplies for the animals etc. etc.

    Look beyond what you see..
    think then appreciate..

    from Philippines

  38. marcy...
    May 2nd, 2012, 12:42 am

    i hope they close that zoo and that those animals go to other zoo s around the world

  39. marcy...
    May 2nd, 2012, 12:44 am

    save those animals please to other zoo this is not a zoo itts/terrible/

  40. Inah...
    August 19th, 2012, 12:07 pm

    I think the Zoo shouldn’t be close instead do action to renovate or have it maintain well,, Donate as well things or whatever it is for the zoo improvements. And come to think of it, if you agree to close the Manila zoo, what will happen to those animals in there? And if that happened, there will be no more place where people can see animals like the way it is in the zoo and last but not the least there will be no more zoo in Manila wherein gave INFORMATION as well as, million reasons and times of JOY to all young ones, Manilenio and Filipinos or even those people with differents nationality who gone over there.

  41. pop...
    October 2nd, 2012, 12:20 pm

    The animals in the Manila zoo should be taken care and to be free as they should be given consideration to give them a better lives…

  42. Francis...
    October 2nd, 2012, 12:30 pm

    Be kint to Mali as she feels very lonely.

  43. lolly...
    July 19th, 2013, 11:41 am

    just to clarify..!

    NO ONE is saying the Ma’li is not a smart beautifult intellegent being but you are neglecting some important FACTS!!

    Elephants are NOT supposed to be alone!! Elephants are HERD animals and need to interaction of other Elephants to prosper. Ma’li has been on her own for 36 YEARS!!!

    She is exhibitings signs of foot distress!! She hang her foot in the air and swings it from side to side to relieve pain and discomfort!!

    The elephant was a gift to Imelda Marcos!!

    Why would we donate money to a zoo who have proven not to have the best interests of the animals at heart!!??

    If something can be done better, why wouldnt you at least try?!?

    You say the zoo has not money! That proves that they have insufficent funds to do what they need to, to look after their aniamls.

    Stop being so ignorant and blind-sided by national prides, whichis making you look worse ans worse.

    Free Ma’li and give her a chance.

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