HELP US END THE STRUGGLE FOR FOUR AFRICAN ELEPHANTS IN KARACHI
Free The Wild is working to end the suffering of four captive elephants in Karachi, Pakistan. Please donate now.
Two of the elephants, Malaika and Sonu, are held in small cement enclosures and chained at the feet for 15 hours a day. The other two are held in Karachi Zoo, and live in similar conditions to Malaika and Sonu.
Reports suggest that Malaika and Sonu are suffering from potentially life-threatening conditions that require urgent attention.
Broken nails - in the wild, elephants' nails wear away against sand and soil. Softer surfaces also allow their nails to bed in. On concrete, their nails cannot bed in, but break instead. Where bad breakages occur, infections can form under the nail. Left untreated, these infections can cause serious medical complications and even death.
Cracked tusks - elephants use their tusks like we use our hands. Being entirely made of bone, cracks can be incredibly painful and lead to stress and long-term suffering if left untreated.
Swollen legs - elephants roam for hundreds of kilometres a day in the wild. Given their confined space, they are developing circulatory issues that can lead to heart conditions and muscle damage.
Lacerated Feet - standing on concrete for prolonged periods on time can cause elephants feet to become dry and swollen. Over time, where the skin cracks - especially where these animals are made to stand in their own urine and faeces - infections develop in their feet, making it painful to stand. Two captive elephants previously suffered an agonising death due to complications associated with foot rot, Saheli and Suzi.
Malaika and Sonu have been seen standing on three legs to relieve the pain in their swollen feet, but they are chained on cement floors, with no enrichment nor suitable space. They are housed in a 140m2 cage which has a divider in the middle so they remain solitary.
One of Malaika’s legs is four times the size of her other legs and she appears to be unable to properly bear weight on any of her legs. When she walks, she hobbles along very slowly. The pads of her feet are cracked and have deep pits, which the Safari park management and elephant keeper claim to be ‘winter dryness’. We have been been told vaseline is being applied to her feet.
All four elephants are showing visible signs of psychological and physical pain and urgently need our help.
We have learnt from our legal representative in Karachi that we have had verbal approval from the Karachi Zoo and Safari Park officials, allowing us to send over expert vets to administer urgent medical care.
Our expert veterinarians will fly to Karachi this February, taking with them the specialist medical equipment and medication to ensure that the elephants get the best and most urgent treatment possible.
To cover the expenses and enable this mission, we need to urgently raise $30,000. The funds will cover the costs of the vets; their transport to, from and within Karachi; accommodation, security; insurance; the elephant's medical supplies, including the portable x-ray and other medical equipment and legal expenses.
We cannot do this without your help.
Please donate today.
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Help us raise the $30,000 we need
$17,637.55 raised to date
Updated daily. Last Update 10 March 2021
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UPDATE: 18 JAN 2021
A recent video investigation into the footage of the elephants at Karachi Zoo and the Safari Park has revealed the following;
Karachi Safari Park:
There are two African elephants kept in the Karachi Safari Park, Malika and Sonu.
Malika is a teenage female (approx. 15 years old). She shows extreme pain in her feet, not being able to place all four on the ground at the same time. She needs to constantly lift her feet in order to relieve the pain. Her feet show foot rot, as well as nail overgrowth, cracks and deformation.
Sonu is a teenage male (approx. 15 years old). He shows some skin problems that need to be checked.
They are both kept separately in their small concrete boxes most of the time, and according to the available information, they spend 15 hours/day chained and rarely brought out to their outside enclosure. They both are kept in DC management (Direct Contact).
No enrichment or bathing possibilities are seen both in the boxes nor in their outside enclosure.
The two female African elephants kept in the Karachi Zoo, Madhu Bala and Noor Jahan, both approx. 15 years old. Both show stereotypic behaviour even while walking, moving their heads in big circles.
They walk on concrete and are kept in DC management.
There are safety concerns about the public approaching the elephants too closely, with no strict safety measures in place.
No enrichment or bathing possibilities visible.
We plan to have a FTW representative on Karachi soil in the early weeks of February, to follow up with a first-hand review of the facilities and the condition of the elephants.
Please stay tuned for further updates!
UPDATE: 10 FEB 2021
Free The Wild has had official confirmation from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). We have officially been given the green light to go ahead and provide essential veterinary care to the four elephants residing in Karachi Safari Park and Karachi Zoo.
The news comes just weeks before our team is set to fly, so we are very grateful to the KMC for their positive reception.
We have arranged for Dr. Frank Goëritz and Dr. Thomas Hildebrandt - two of the world's most renowned elephant experts and arguably amongst the most qualified specialists in regards to elephant behaviour and wellbeing, to meet Dr. Isma Gheewala in Karachi on 22 February 2021.
Dr. Goëritz and Dr. Hildebrandt will be bringing with them all of the medical equipment needed to perform ultrasound scans on the elephants' legs and feet, x-rays, blood tests, weight-bearing and balance, along with all the specialist antibiotics required to treat what they suspect to be progressive foot rot.
While they are there, they will be working with Dr. Gheewala to implement a course of treatment and recovery programme for the elephants, where they will be examined and observed on a regular basis.
Following the results of the examination and treatments, Free The Wild and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation will be in a better position to decide the best course of action for the future of the elephants, including the potential improvement of their living conditions, ongoing care, diet and upkeep. We are planning to look into the health and conditions of the other animals at the Karachi facilities.
UPDATE: 15 MAR 2021
KMC WITHHOLD SUPPORT FOR KARACHI ELEPHANTS
At the very last moment, as the world was watching our Vets were prepare to leave Germany - with visas arranged, international flights booked, local accommodation reserved and, very importantly, medication purchased - KMC suddenly withheld their permission for the Free The Wild vets to enter the zoo and safari park to perform full health checks on the elephants, treat their issues and train local staff to continue the process.
These elephants need our help and we are not going to just walk away. We are petitioned Karachi courts and requesting an urgent ruling to ensure the wellbeing of these animals.
Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne, co-founder of Free The Wild said “Words just cannot express how disappointed we are by the sudden lack of support. The trip was planned and even medications purchased. This is not only a major setback for the health of the elephants but also has wasted very valuable funds as the medications will expire and cannot be returned. I fail to understand why anyone bites a helping hand. This was at no cost at all to the KMC and not only would have helped these animals but also provided training for locals moving forward. I hope the petition will overcome these odd bureaucratic obstacles.”