Sunday May 28, 2023

Karachi Zoo elephant’s health condition deteriorates

“Anything can happen to Noor Jehan at any time,” say sources

March 27, 2023
The Elephant Noor Jehan eats some grass as her swollen legs and knees and the inflammation in her body are visible. — Photo by author.
The Elephant Noor Jehan eats some grass as her swollen legs and knees and the inflammation in her body are visible. — Photo by author. 

The health of Karachi Zoo's beloved 16-year-old elephant Noor Jehan — who has been suffering from joint and bone pains for some time — is deteriorating and “anything can happen to her at any time”, sources told Geo News.

The zoo administration has kept Noor on painkillers, after which various organs of the elephant have become infected, the sources confirmed.

As per the sources, Noor is unable to walk due to worsening joint pain as the drugs given to alleviate the swelling of her joints have aggravated the condition of her knees.

The sources further said the zoo was previously advised by international organisations to keep the elephants in the open spaces, after which Karachi Zoo Senior Director Khalid Hashmi wrote a letter instructing that the elephants be shifted to Safari Park.

So far, Noor has not been transferred to Safari Park.

Hashmi, when asked about the matter, said: "The health of the elephant is not that bad. Noor Jehan's tests have been done and efforts are being made to improve her health through medicines. Her medicines are imported from abroad, which costs more."

Geo News also contacted a representative of Four Paws — an international animal welfare organisation — who said that he is aware of Noor Jehan's condition.

The representative said a plan of action will be decided as soon as the report is compiled, while nothing could be said definitively about when they will visit the Karachi Zoo.

Karachi Zoo Zoologist Dr Amir Rizvi could not be reached for comment.

No food for animals

In other news, companies that supply food to the animals at the Karachi Zoo have alleged that Hashmi and the former director Raza Abbas Rizvi are demanding money for the clearance of their outstanding bills.

In a letter written to the Metropolitan Commissioner, the contractors have alleged that one company is owed Rs34,600,000, while the other is owed Rs8,400,000 in unpaid bills.

According to the letter, when requested to clear the bills, the former director of the zoo took a “huge amount” from the contractors, however, the payment was not cleared.

The appellants further said that now Hashmi is demanding a 25% commission on the bills in order to get them cleared.

In the letters, the contractors have taken the stand that the zoo is still purchasing animal feed at the same rate as it was three years ago.

“Despite the financial losses we have had to bear due to this, we have continued to supply the food,” the letters claimed.

However, both contractors claimed that it was no longer possible to supply feed on loan and that previous dues would have to be cleared.

With regards to the matter, Geo News contacted Rizvi, who categorically rejected the allegations levelled against him.

Rizvi said they he was ready to be held accountable. “If I have taken any money, evidence should be presented,” Rizvi added.

However, if the evidence is not presented, legal action will be taken against the letter writers, he warned.