Human Interest

Wildlife experts call for measures to save Pakistan’s last captive elephants

Islamabad, 1 Dec. (EFE) .- A team of wildlife experts has called for urgent medical treatment of Pakistan’s last four captive elephants, living in the southern port city of Karachi, warning that negligence or delay could lead to life threatening situations for the pachyderms.

The appeal comes a year after the “world’s loneliest elephant” Kaavan was rescued from an Islamabad zoo to a sanctuary in Cambodia.

The four-member team, sent by global animal welfare organization Four Paws, examined two elephants at the Karachi Zoo and two others at the Karachi Safari Park for two days after an order by the Sindh High Court. The elephants were brought from Tanzania in 2009.

“The elephants called Noor Jehan and Madhubala at the Karachi Zoo have broken tusks and Malika and Sonu at Karachi Safari Park have problems with their nails and feet,” the medical examiners said in the report submitted to the court on Tuesday.

“Noor Jehan has a painful infection in her broken tusk which requires a complicated surgery as soon as possible,” veterinarian Amir Khalil, head of the team, told EFE on phone, adding that “the infection could reach to skull or brain if not treated.”

According to the report, all four elephants also displayed behavioral issues due to years of inappropriate keeping and frustration over not being able to live out their natural instincts.

The team also discovered that elephant Sonu, who was believed to be male for over ten years, is actually a female as an ovary could be seen in its ultrasound test.

The veterinarian said that a long-term solution to improve the elephants’ lives could be a reunion of all four of them at Karachi Safari Park, which needs further improvement in conditions despite having sufficient space and natural habitat.

“At the moment we don’t recommend shifting them from the country like Kaavan as the climate conditions in Karachi are good for the African elephants,” Khalil said.

The vet, who also led the team that had rescued Kaavan, said that the elephants’ diet was not balanced and they needed proper care by trained staff.

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