• Ailing elephant increases her food intake, says zoo officials
• Four Paws team due to arrive next week
KARACHI: Although ailing elephant Noor Jehan has increased her food intake over the past two days, her worsening health complications have forced experts to look into the option of putting her down, it emerged on Wednesday.
Sources said the 17-year-old African elephant had developed skin lesions, apparently due to the crane’s belts and ropes used to change her position twice a day.
The poor animal had been lying on the ground since her collapse in her enclosure after she was lifted out of the pond in which she reportedly fell a week back.
“Her skin lesions are being treated while a team is preparing a soft harness best suited to her needs,” an official told Dawn.
Noor Jehan, he said, had been showing positive signals over the past two days.
“We had lost all hopes but her positive response in the last two days has once again raised our hopes. She has increased her food intake from around 12kg and 15kg to 40 kg in a day and is passing out stool and urine,” he said, adding that she also moved her legs when lifted for changing her position.
Noor Jehan underwent complex diagnostic procedure early this month and was found to have a large haematoma in her abdomen and ruptured pelvic membrane. She collapsed days later and has since lain stricken on its side.
Currently, the zoo administration is anxiously waiting for the arrival of Four Paws, the international animal welfare group supervising the elephant’s treatment process.
The team is due to arrive on Monday morning.
“Noor Jehan’s condition is getting complicated every passing day. The team on site doesn’t have the experience and equipment to handle this extraordinary situation,” said Dr Amir Khalil representing the animal welfare group.
He regretted that it’s not possible for the team to reach early as it had prior commitments and was currently engaged, attending to the needs of animals suffering in different parts of the world.
“All experts including the on-site team have already given Noor Jehan a chance and her recovery chances were high following diagnosis and treatment a few weeks back. It’s sad that she seems to be losing the opportunity after that accident [her fall in the pond].”
The sources said the nine-member team recently set up by Karachi Metropolitan Corporation would weigh in all options including that of euthanasia.
“We will fight till the end for her recovery, and the rest is in the hands of Allah. We are diligently following Four Paws’ instructions for treatment. She is still eating despite being on her side, pin-pricked by drips and regularly doused with water to cool her down,” Karachi Zoo director Kanwar Ayub said when asked about euthanizing Noor Jehan.
It might be recalled that Noor Jehan had been in pain and misery for over four months and the KMC sought assistance from the NGO after her plight was highlighted in the media.
In August last year, the foreign experts performed major tusk surgeries on Noor Jehan and Madhubala, the other female elephant. This step followed intervention of the Sindh High Court, which was approached by the Pakistan Animal Welfare Society (Paws) and activists worried over animal plight.
Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2023