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Tuesday July 23, 2024

Ailing 'Noor Jehan' dies at Karachi Zoo

"The elephant was sick with a fever since yesterday. All-out efforts were made to save her," Karachi administrator says

By Suleman Saadat
April 22, 2023
Veterinarians examine elephant Noor Jehan at the Karachi Zoo in Karachi on April 18, 2023. — AFP
Veterinarians examine elephant Noor Jehan at the Karachi Zoo in Karachi on April 18, 2023. — AFP

KARACHI: Karachi Administrator Saif Ur Rehman said Saturday that the sick African elephant 'Noor Jehan' has lost her life at the city's zoo after efforts to help her recover went in vain.

"The elephant was sick with a fever since yesterday. All-out efforts were made to save her," the administrator said in a statement about the animal who was suffering from several health issues for the last several days.

In her last days, Noor Jehan was pin-pricked by drips and regularly doused with water to cool her down.

The administrator mentioned that the foreign vets from the FOUR PAWS International treated the 17-year-old recently as he expressed sorrow over the demise of Noor Jehan. 

Talking to journalists, Karachi Zoo Director Kanwar Ayub said the elephant — whose health was deteriorating since November last year — passed away at 11:15am today morning.

The zoo's director added that the FOUR PAWS team were en route to Pakistan, and they would perform a post-mortem examination on the 17-year-old's body.

"After the post-mortem examination, we will decide about her burial," he said, praising the FOUR PAWS team for their efforts in the treatment of the elephant.

In a statement, the zoo's administration said Noor Jehan was operated upon a few months ago and after the latest one, she faced difficulty in walking.

Veterinarians examine elephant Noor Jehan at the Karachi Zoo in Karachi on April 18, 2023. — AFP
Veterinarians examine elephant Noor Jehan at the Karachi Zoo in Karachi on April 18, 2023. — AFP

"A few days ago, Noor Jehan sat down in the pond, but could not get up again," the administration added.

The 17-year-old African elephant underwent emergency treatment for a tumour in Karachi on April 5, but collapsed days later and had since lain stricken on its side.

The pitiful plight of Noor Jehan was shared by animal rights activists on social media in Pakistan and abroad, prompting calls for the zoo to be shut down.

FOUR PAWS, in a series of tweets, said despite all their tireless efforts and the endless work of the team on-site, they could not get her back on her feet. "She fought for days but succumbed to her critical condition."

The organisation recommended that Madhubala — the other elephant at the zoo — should be relocated as soon as possible to a species-appropriate place to at least give her a chance at a better life.

"Noor Jehan's tragic story is a reminder of the suffering that captive wild animals endure in Pakistan and around the world. We hope that the authorities in Pakistan will take this as an example and do better for captive wild animals in the future."

Pakistan's zoos are frequently accused of disregarding animal welfare, and in 2020 a court ordered the only facility in the country's capital to close because of its decrepit state.

In 2019 Islamabad's zoo was shut down after drawing international condemnation for its treatment of an Asian elephant named Kaavan.

Kavaan was later airlifted to retirement in Cambodia in a project spearheaded by US popstar and actor Cher, and carried out by Four Paws.


— Additional input from AFP