ISLAMABAD: The mayor of Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi has given the go-ahead to global animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS to relocate ailing elephant Madhubala to a new sanctuary, a statement from the group said on Thursday.
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 at Karachi Zoo after suffering from multiple ailments including the Trypanosomiasis blood infection.
Animal rights organizations, including FOUR PAWS, have raised alarm over the poor condition of the Karachi Zoo where Madhubala is in solitary confinement following Noor Jehan's death. FOUR PAWS has actively campaigned to move Madhubala to a "species-appropriate" elephant sanctuary at the Karachi Safari Park.
In June, Egyptian veterinarian Dr. Amir Khalil, who had treated Noor Jehan, said Madhubala was also suffering from the same Trypanosomiasis blood infection.
"Global animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS has returned to Karachi, Pakistan to prepare for the relocation of Madhubala, the lone African Elephant at Karachi Zoo," FOUR PAWS said in a statement.
"After a crucial meeting with Murtaza Wahab, the newly elected Mayor of Karachi yesterday, lead FOUR PAWS veterinarian Dr. Amir Khalil was given the approval to start preparing to relocate Madhubala from Karachi Zoo to Safari Park," the statement added.
FOUR PAWS said Madhubala would be reunited with fellow African elephants Sonia and Malika at the sanctuary after 14 years. Khalil said Wahab had agreed to take measures to ensure the sanctuary is more suitable for elephants.
"These measures include the expansion of its grounds, inclusion of waterbodies, enrichment features and safety measures, as well as training of on-ground and management staff to create a space in which Madhubala, Malika and Sonia can grow and prosper," Khalil said.