PAWS AND THINK
“Noor Jehan died because we didn’t look after her,” Ahmed, my young brother, has been telling everyone since Noor Jehan died when we were celebrating Eid.
Noor Jehan was younger than Ahmed when she was smuggled to Karachi in 2010 from her hometown in Tanzania, hoping to live a better life among humans, but what she went through is a heartbreaking tale of negligence and cold-blooded murder. Her last few weeks are enough to shake the conscience of society, but sadly we lack empathy.
She died on Saturday, 22 April, in Karachi Zoo due to multiple issues. She became partially paralyzed. She was retrieved from the pond — she fell in due to negligence of staff — by a crane and placed on a mound of sand and it was said that she was having trouble standing up due to unbearable pain in her hind legs.
Foreign medical professionals who were attending to her since 2021 continued to oversee her care, and a group of regional veterinarians were also put together to facilitate the zoo’s management.
But nature had other plans.
Despite the efforts of local veterinarians and foreign medical professionals Four Paws, the elephant died.
While there was widespread hue and cry in the country, the tragedy left a mark on my younger brother’s soul. Ahmed still remembers feeding one of the elephants at the zoo during his only visit there some months ago. Ahmed is a 4-year-old animal lover who watches videos of dinosaurs, whales and other wild animals all day long. I bet he has more knowledge about dinosaurs than a typical Pakistani could have. He was shocked to see Noor Jehan lying motionless with drips and everything, asking mother why she was not walking. And since her death, he has been telling everyone ‘Noor Jehan died because we didn’t look after her. I saw her in pain trying to move’.
What devastating effect this might have had on other kids is beyond comprehension. I only pray that all Noor Jehans live healthy lives across the world in their habitat.
(The author is a grade VIII student at Hira Foundation School.)