KARACHI, July 17: Anarkali, the lone female elephant of the Karachi Zoological Gardens, died here on Monday morning. She was the oldest inhabitant and the main attraction for the visitors of the zoo, especially children.
The zoo authorities, referring to the autopsy report, said that she died of cardiac arrest due to old age. The normal life span of an elephant in captivity, according to them, is between 60-70 years and Anarkali was 65-years-old.
She had been providing joy rides to children visiting the zoo for the last four decades. As her health deteriorated consultant veterinarians had suggested that she be given rest. So the zoo authorities had cancelled the rides.
The zoo administration, looking at Anarkali’s popularity among the visitors — particularly children — had been trying to get another elephant for the past few years, but had not been successful.
Born in Burma Anarkali, unaware of the laws that govern the international boundaries, crossed over during a stroll to the then East Pakistan in 1950s.
The elephant herd had created havoc in the agricultural fields along the border areas and the farmers, whose crops had been destroyed, were crying for help.
A few wildlife experts were sent from here to assist the officials there who were finding it difficult to control or capture the herd of elephant. With the joint efforts many elephants were captured.
One of the elephants caught was brought to Karachi and kept at the house of a senior bureaucrat for some time. But as the elephant grew in size, it was donated to the zoo, where it was named, Anarkali.