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The ailing elephant died after a few days of intensive medical procedures at a Pakistani zoo

An ailing elephant died at a Pakistani zoo after undergoing a critical medical procedure by a team of international veterinarians earlier this month, officials said Saturday.

17-year-old Noor Jehan was brought to Karachi with three other elephants more than a dozen years ago. Kanwar Ayub, a top official at Karachi Zoo, said he died after an accident just days after a procedure was performed by an Austria-based team of experts to assess his condition.

Syed Saifur Rahman, Karachi’s top local government official, said city and zoo administrators did their best to comfort the long-ill elephant after the procedure this month.

“Unfortunately we could not save Noorjahan despite all efforts including bringing in a team of foreign experts for her treatment,” he said.

Pakistani elephant

Mist fans are placed next to the dead body of an elephant named “Noor Jehan” at a zoo in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, April 22, 2023. The critically ill elephant was euthanized by international veterinarians earlier this month. A zoo in Pakistan, officials said Saturday.

Farid Khan/AP

Videos of Noorjahan struggling to stand with her head against a tree have caused alarm in Pakistan and around the world.

An eight-member team from the Austrian animal welfare organization Four Paws was brought in and performed a complex procedure to assess several medical problems the elephant was facing. The process was carried out with the help of a crane and a fire truck.

The team included veterinarians from Egypt and Bulgaria and an elephant husbandry expert from Germany. It was headed by Dr. Amir Khalil of Egypt.

Specialists performed an ultrasound and found a large hematoma in Noor’s abdomen, which was affecting her organs. Due to the trauma, Noorjahan’s pelvis was fractured and an abscess developed at the site.

At the end of the process, Khalil was hopeful for his recovery. “We almost lost him when we sedated him, but fortunately we took all necessary preparations and Noorjahan stood up again,” he said at the time.

Khalil said he died after an accident in his enclosure on April 13 that left him unable to leave his enclosure pool for hours. A local team was able to extract him under the remote supervision of a Four Paws vet, who had already left Pakistan. But the animal was unable to stand on its own despite several attempts to help it.

Khalil said that the elephant had no strength to stand as Nur Jahan was already weak. He died after fighting for nine days.

“Now more than ever it is imperative that the remaining elephant at the Karachi Zoo, Madhubala, who is grieving her long-time companion, is relocated as soon as possible to a more species-appropriate location, to prevent another potential tragedy,” Khalil said.

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