Fate of elephant Noor Jehan uncertain as experts consider euthanasia

KARACHI: Animal experts are currently evaluating the condition of an ailing elephant named Noor Jehan at a zoo in Karachi to determine whether euthanasia — the act of killing an animal humanely, most commonly with injectable drugs — is necessary.

The 17-year-old African elephant collapsed in its pen last week and has since failed to stand up despite undergoing emergency treatment for a tumour in Karachi on April 5.

Noor Jehan’s plight has garnered widespread attention on social media, with animal rights activists calling for the zoo’s closure.

Pakistan’s zoos have faced frequent accusations of disregarding animal welfare, and a court ordered the closure of the country’s only facility in the capital due to its decrepit state in 2020.

Noor Jehan’s fate is currently in the hands of a committee waiting for the arrival of Amir Khalil, the chief vet of animal charity Four Paws International. Khalil, who led the team that treated Noor Jehan for the tumour, expressed his desire to have “one last try” at helping the pachyderm recover.

However, her condition remains critical and uncertain, and her pen pal, Madhubala, may receive better accommodation.

In 2019, Islamabad’s zoo was shut down following international criticism of its treatment of an Asian elephant, Kaavan, who was later airlifted to retirement in Cambodia in a project spearheaded by American popstar Cher and carried out by Four Paws.

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