Foreign experts find tusks of elephants in Pakistan missing

11:55 PM | 30 Nov, 2021
Foreign experts find tusks of elephants in Pakistan missing
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KARACHI – A team of international veterinarians and wildlife experts this week found tusks of elephants at two facilities in Karachi missing.

They say Noor Jehan, one of the four elephants, has severe tusk infection and needs immediate surgery.

The Sindh High Court (SHC) in September granted permission to Dr Frank Goritz, the head veterinarian at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), to visit Pakistan to inspect the health of four African elephants: Malika and Sonu at Karachi’s Safari Park, and Noor Jehan and Madhubala at the Karachi Zoo. The order was passed after animal rights activists moved the court following a viral video revealed cracks in Malika’s foot.

A team of experts from FOUR PAWS, a Vienna-based global animal welfare organisation, also assessed the health of Malika and Sonu at Karachi’s Safari Park on Sunday.

On Monday, they examined Noor Jehan and Madhubala at the Karachi Zoo to finalise their assessment report.

According to officials, these are the last four African elephants left in Pakistan.

“One of the elephants has severe tusk infection on both sides and needs to be operated on,” says FOUR PAWS veterinarian Dr Amir Khalil. 

Dr Khalil is leading the visiting team, which includes Dr Frank Göritz and Prof Thomas Hildebrandt from the Leibnitz Institute and Dr Marina Ivanova from FOUR PAWS. 

Noor Jehan’s tusk is broken and needs serious and urgent medical attention by highly qualified vets.

With regards to 16-year-old Madhubala, the team has observed that her menstrual cycles had not started though the usual age for a female elephant to start her cycles is 12 years.

“This is a clear sign of stress or malnutrition,” Dr Khalil observed, recommending readjustment of her diet.

The Karachi Zoo elephants were living amid permanent noise because of traffic on nearby roads, while their enclosures lacked vast natural habitat and swimming facilities, the team has noted, recommending that they be shifted to the Safari Park or their present enclosure at Karachi Zoo be expanded and modified.

The team has also recommended training for the elephants and the staff that tends to them, and said the elephant shelter and swimming pool at the Safari Park could be expanded. The team has also stressed the need for capacity-building of staff taking care of the elephants.