A team of veterinarians and wildlife experts from Four Paws, a global animal welfare organization, arrived in Karachi this week to help the suffering elephant Noor Jehan at the city’s zoo. The experts identified an internal hematoma and a damaged pelvic floor as the main sources of the elephant’s pain and physical distress. Noor Jehan’s condition worsened quickly and left her partially paralyzed. FOUR PAWS has recommended relocating Noor Jehan and her companion Madhubala to a species-appropriate place that meets international standards since 2021.
The authorities have committed to relocating both elephants as soon as Noor Jehan is healthy enough to be moved. Since the treatment and special equipment Noor Jehan needs are not available in Pakistan, zoo officials requested help from FOUR PAWS, the international animal welfare organization.
The team of experts conducted an ultrasound examination and additional laboratory tests to determine her condition and treatment options. After identifying the cause of her serious condition, they provided immediate pain relief treatments, including medications, vitamins, painkillers, and hydrotherapy.
Dr Amir Khalil, the FOUR PAWS veterinarian who led the expert team on-site, said that the ultrasound examination revealed an inner hematoma and a damaged pelvic floor. This suggests that a traumatic event occurred, which caused her painful health condition and unusual body position. He explained that Noor Jehan needs a lot of movement to activate and train the muscles in her legs again, which will improve the mobility of her digestive tract. She will also receive a special diet to help with this.
Dr Khalil stressed that it is crucial that Noor Jehan regains strength so that she and Madhubala can be relocated to a more species-appropriate home where she can recover further. FOUR PAWS gave recommendations and guidelines for Noor Jehan’s recovery, and her future and survival now depend on the zoo following them.
FOUR PAWS CEO Josef Pfabigan welcomed the authorities’ commitment to relocate the elephants. However, he expressed regret that the move was not implemented sooner to spare Noor Jehan from her recent suffering. Pfabigan pledged that FOUR PAWS would continue to provide support in cases where sustainable solutions could be achieved to improve the lives of as many animals as possible.
Noor Jehan and Madhubala were captured in the wild and brought to Pakistan together in 2009. While they live at Karachi Zoo, the two other captive African elephants in Pakistan, Sonu and Malika, live at Karachi Safari Park. Species-appropriate living conditions for elephants include large open spaces with natural surroundings and soft ground where the animals can move around. Elephants enjoy taking mud baths, for which they need sand and water to engage.