Noor Jehan: Ailing elephant at Pakistan's Karachi Zoo dies

Noor Jehan: Ailing elephant at Pakistan's Karachi Zoo dies

Noor Jehan was an African elephant, whose average lifespan is 60 to 70 years.

Noor Jehan, a 17-year-old critically ill elephant has died at Pakistan's Karachi Zoo. The animal welfare charity that had been treating the elephant, called for the crisis-hit zoo's closure.

A global animal welfare organisation, Four Paws, said in a statement that the elephant suffered serious ailments before falling in a pond last week and was unable to get up without help. 

As quoted by Pakistan-based DAWN, animal rights activist Mahera Omar, who had been closely working with vets treating the deceased pachyderm, said: "She (Jehan) rests in peace now." 

Austria-based Four Paws tweeted that Jehan's story was 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." 

Noor Jehan was an African elephant, whose average lifespan is 60 to 70 years. Four Paws veterinarian Amir Khalil said that it was "heartbreaking that she had to die at only 17 years old, when she could have had many more years". 

The experts and vets who were treating her at the Pakistan Zoo called for other animals to evacuate, especially Madhubala, the other elephant at the zoo, to be relocated as soon as possible. The experts have urged to avert a second tragedy and shift Noor Jehan's "mourning" partner to a "species-appropriate place to at least give her a chance at a better life". 

What had happened to Noor Jehan? 

Noor Jehan underwent emergency treatment for a tumour which had crippled her back legs. During her recovery period, she became trapped in her enclosure's pool.

The animal charity stated that zoo workers hauled out the 3.5-ton pachyderm but she was unable to stand and lay stricken for nine days, "a life-threatening situation for elephants". 

The statement further noted that experts were even considering euthanasia but before a decision was taken "she succumbed to her critical condition". 

Noor Jehan: Ailing elephant at Pakistan's Karachi Zoo dies
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Alarming situation at zoos in Pakistan 

A statement by Four Paws International mentioned that the Karachi Zoo "does not fulfil international standards" and also added that it is not equipped to take appropriate care of elephants. The organisation expressed support for a forced closure. 

The condition of animals kept in zoos continues to worsen across Pakistan. In April 2020, a court ordered the only zoo in Pakistan's capital Islamabad to shut down after poor facilities and mistreatment of the animals there were revealed. It is the same zoo, where the elephant Kaavan was kept. 

Kaavan, an Asian elephant was airlifted to retirement in Cambodia in a project spearheaded by US popstar and actor Cher. 

In March, Karachi Zoo's Golden Tabby Tiger died at 21 and according to sources, the golden tabby tiger had been ill for a long time and apparently failed to receive proper care. 

Some 206 birds and 76 other animals died in 2017, while 122 birds and 45 other animals died in 2018. Multiple deaths were also reported in the Peshawar Zoo since it was inaugurated in February 2018. 

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