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Foreign veterinarians save sick elephant at Pakistani zoo


KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Veterinarians said they performed a critical procedure to save a sick elephant at a zoo in southern Pakistan on Wednesday.

Noor Jehan, 17, was brought to Karachi with three other elephants more than a dozen years ago. Videos of her leaning her head against a tree and struggling to stand have caused alarm in Pakistan. The elephant is experiencing a number of health issues, including arthritis.

An eight-member team from the Austrian animal welfare organization Four Paws did the complex procedure with the help of a crane and a fire truck.

“We nearly lost her when we gave her sedation, but luckily we had all the necessary preparations, and Noor Jehan stood up again," said Dr Amir Khalil, who led the team.

The experts did an ultrasound and found a large hematoma in her abdomen, which is affecting her organs.

“The good news is that there is treatment for this, but it requires a lot of work and some luck in the coming days,” Khalil said. “However, Noor Jehan is still young, and she deserves to live another 20 or 30 years.”

The team included veterinarians from Egypt, Bulgaria and an elephant husbandry expert from Germany. The governor of Sindh province, where Karachi is located, was at the zoo for the procedure, as were animal rights activists.

Khalil said authorities have agreed to relocate Noor Jehan to a better place with her fellow elephant, Madhubala, because her current conditions are unsuitable.

Noor Jehan’s pelvis was broken due to trauma and there is an abscess growing in that area. Khalil said there are many treatments available for her, including water massage and movement.

“We will move her to a bigger area where she can move around freely. This is what Noor Jehan needs.”