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Philippines' only elephant Mali dies

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 28) — Mali, the only elephant in the Philippines, died around 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday, the Manila City government announced.

«Gusto po namin ipaalam na sa kasalukuyan ay ginagawa natin ang necropsy upang malaman po natin ang tunay na dahilan ng kanyang pagkamatay,» Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna said.

[Translation: We would like to inform you that we are currently doing the necropsy to find out the true cause of her death.]

The female Asian elephant, whose full name is Vishwa Ma'ali, was approximately 50 years old. Asian elephants, listed as endangered species, have an average life span of up to 60 years in the wild.

Mali had been in the care of the Manila Zoo since she came to the Philippines as a gift from Sri Lanka.

She arrived in the park in 1977, according to Manila Zoo, although the Manila Public Information Office said that she was turned over to the City of Manila in May 1981, when she was 11 months old.

Animal rights groups have been calling for the release and rehabilitation of Mali, together with music icon Paul McCartney, who joined the petition in 2013 by reportedly writing a letter to late president President Benigno «Noynoy» Aquino III.

Manila Zoo has been home to over 500 animals since it opened in July 1959.

Lacuna said the local government will hold a press briefing on Wednesday to give updates on Mali's death.