KARACHI: Pakistani elephant Madhubala “still” has blood infection Trypanosomiasis, Egyptian veterinarian Dr. Amir Khalil said on Thursday, adding that the animal would be shifted to a new sanctuary once it tests negative for the infection.
Madhubala, one of only three captive elephants alive in Pakistan, was brought to the South Asian country with three other elephants from Tanzania in 2009. One of her long-time companions, 17-year-old Noor Jehan, passed away in April after suffering from multiple ailments including the same Trypanosomiasis infection. Noor Jehan’s death prompted animal rights activists and organizations to raise alarm over Karachi Zoo’s poor living conditions. They demanded Madhubala be shifted to a “species-appropriate” sanctuary immediately to avert another potential tragedy.
Khalil, an employee of the international animal rights welfare organization FOUR PAWS, said last week that the Trypanosomiasis infection can be fatal. However, he said Madhubala was luckier than Noor Jehan as she was provided medicine for the infection before it reached an advanced stage. He also said FOUR PAWS is supporting the Karachi city government’s efforts to build an animal sanctuary at the Safari Park and that Madhubala would be shifted to it once it is completed.
“Madublaha has a blood parasite still and she will receive medicine two times within two weeks, then another blood test [needs] to be done,” Khalil told Arab News. “Transfer should be done only when she is negative,” he added.
Khalil had told Arab News last week that work on the sanctuary at Karachi’s Safari Park has already begun, adding that a night enclosure for Madhubala is also being built according to international standards. He said depending upon Madhubala’s health and the speed of the work on her sanctuary, authorities hope to shift her to it by the end of June or the first week of July.
The developments take place more than two years after Kaavan, dubbed as the “world’s loneliest elephant,” was released from a dilapidated zoo in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. Animal rights activists had long campaigned against the plight of the 35-year-old elephant who had lived alone since the death of his mate in 2012.
Kaavan was transferred to Cambodia in late 2020 in a blaze of publicity after his plight caught the attention of US superstar Cher, who helped raise funds for the jumbo relocation.