An international animal rights group, the Pro Elephant Network, has written an appeal for emergency medical assistance for African elephants caged at Safari Park, and Karachi Zoo.
Earlier this month, a number of activists highlighted the dire condition of four elephants, Noor Jehan, MadhuBala, Malika and Sonu. The animals were suffering from multiple injuries on their feet and other parts of their bodies.
“The elephants have been degraded to tools of human amusement & certainly serve no purpose whatsoever in education. I can say this is one of the worst facilities with the worst type of caregiving I have seen to date.” Dr. Marion of Pro Elephants Network about Karachi Safari Park.
After seeing distressing videos and pictures of the elephants, experts at PREN have released an urgent appeal for “emergency veterinary assessment and intervention for Malika, Sonu, Noor Jehan and MadhuBala”.
“The implementation of high-priority measures is needed to mitigate the elephants’ critical state of health and to alleviate their obvious suffering,” the appeal stated.
Members of the organisation are willing to offer “their expertise and provide much needed critical veterinary care to the ailing Karachi elephants in order to prevent their premature death”.
Zoologist Dr Marion Garai, a specialist on the social behaviour of elephants in captivity and chairperson of the Elephant Specialist Advisory Group, has written a report on the dire conditions the elephants are kept in.
“This is one of the most unacceptable facilities I have seen in my life. It is totally inadequate for any animal, let alone a sentient, cognitive, intelligent and highly social animal,” she said. “The enclosures are totally barren, without food or water. There is no enrichment, the bedding is utterly poor, with just a bit of grass.”
Noor Jehan and MadhuBala are chained at the Karachi Zoo by three legs each up to 15 hours a day on a hard, concrete floor. They are trapped within a 20 square-metre cage of thick iron bars. The other two elephants at Safari Park are experiencing a similar ordeal.
DrGarai pointed out that the elephants show the highest form of frustration, aggression and stereotypes. “They are mentally on the verge of going mad. It is inconceivable that people are allowed so close to these elephants.”
“Keeping elephants in captivity is a controversial practice and for this reason, many zoos are closing their elephant exhibits and retiring their elephants to sanctuaries. We are prepared to offer assistance including offering a rewilding, re-integration program which would see these four elephants thrive in a more natural environment in Africa,” the appeal concluded.