Elephant Noor Jehan died due to parasitic blood infection: autopsy report

By Our Correspondent
May 19, 2023

The postmortem report of Noor Jehan, the female elephant at the Karachi zoo, has revealed that the cause of her death was a parasitic infection in her blood.


The postmortem report was prepared by Lahore’s University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences (UVAS). Karachi Administrator Dr Syed Saifur Rahman said that the postmortem examination was carried out under scientific and technical supervision of experts, and samples of all the vital organs were taken to determine the exact cause of death.

Dr Rahman said that a full scan of the elephant and other animals of the zoo had also been done to detect the presence of any germs in them. Continuous contact was maintained with doctors and experts of the international organisation Four Paws in connection with the elephant’s treatment and postmortem, while NGOs also provided support and guidance.

The administrator was addressing a press conference at the Karachi zoo on Thursday. Zoo Director Kunwar Ayub, Dr Aamir Rizvi, veterinary experts and other officers were also present on the occasion.

Rahman said that in 2009, four elephants had been brought to the Safari Park from Tanzania. A year later, two of them, Noor Jahan and Madhu Bala, had been transferred to the Karachi zoo.

Their treatment was carried out by Four Paws doctors, and later, the elephants were also examined at the zoo. A cavity in Noor Jahan’s tooth was diagnosed and treated the following year.

In November 2022, she developed a swelling in the left leg, for which treatment was provided. However, in January 2023, the same problem occurred again, and she was suffering due to a swelling on her back.

He said that Four Paws specialists were contacted for her treatment, and they did an X-ray and an ultrasound, diagnosing her with haematoma.

UVAS was also consulted, while the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and the zoo staff continued to focus on Noor Jehan’s treatment. For the first time in history, an intensive care unit (ICU) was built in the elephant enclosure.

All the facilities and medicines were provided for the treatment of the elephant at the ICU, but despite all these efforts, the elephant died on April 22.

On the request of the Karachi zoo and Four Paws, Dr Ghulam Mustafa of UVAS led the postmortem examination of the elephant at the zoo, where Dr Amir Khalil of Four Paws assisted him.

Rahman said that the postmortem report revealed that the elephant had died due to a parasitic infection in her blood, which could have been caused by an insect bite, and it could also infect other animals, so all the necessary arrangements were made to protect them.

He said the Sindh government has formed a task force for the welfare of animals kept in zoos and safaris, and a new procedure is being devised for the purpose.

He said tigers, elephants and other big animals are kept in safaris all over the world, so a special place is being made at the Safari Park on 19 acres to keep the elephants so that they can live in a natural environment.