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Critically ill elephant Noor Jehan dies at Pakistan zoo

By Alex Hardie, Sugam Pokharel and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

A 17-year-old critically ill elephant called Noor Jehan has died at Pakistan’s Karachi Zoo, with the animal welfare charity that had been treating her calling for the zoo’s closure.

The elephant was suffering from preexisting serious ailments before falling in a pond last week, Four Paws said in a statement.

The elephant’s health had deteriorated quickly in the past few weeks and she became unable to stand up.

“She spent too long lying on the ground — a life-threatening situation for elephants,” the group said.

“Despite all our tireless efforts and the endless work of the team on-site, we could not get her back on her feet. She fought for days but succumbed to her critical condition,” it added.

Animal groups say elephants in captivity are usually dead by the time they reach 40, a significantly lower life expectancy than those living in the wild.

Four Paws called for the transfer of the zoo’s other elephant, Madhubala, to a “more species-appropriate location as soon as possible, to prevent another potential tragedy.”

“We hope the authorities in Pakistan will take Noor Jehan’s sad fate as an example and do better for captive wild animals in the country in the future. Noor Jehan represents so many more wild animals that suffer in captivity, in Pakistan and worldwide,” the group said.

“We welcome that the Federal and Sindh government are considering shutting down Karachi Zoo permanently. This could be a turning point for the welfare of wild animals in captivity in Pakistan,” the statement continued.

Reuters reported that the director of Karachi Zoo Khalid Hashmi was removed from is role on April 8 over complaints of negligence.

His successor, Kanwar Ayub, said he was unsure if the complaints were true in the week following the Four Paw’s visit.

“However, there has been no negligence in the three days I have been appointed, guaranteed,” he said on Friday, noting possible negligence over time.

Noor Jehan was brought to Pakistan from Tanzania more than a decade ago, Reuters said.

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