Noor Jehan Update

The latest update on the 17-year-old captive African elephant 


22nd April Update:

With a broken heart we must inform you that Noor Jehan passed away this morning. After an unfortunate incident that left her unable to leave the pool in her enclosure, Noor Jehan was unable to stand up on her own. 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. As agreed with the authorities, we recommend that Madhubala should be relocated as soon as possible to a species appropriate place to at least give her a chance at a better life. 

Noor Jehan's tragic story is a reminder of the suffering that captive wild animals endure in Pakistan and around the world. We hope that the authorities in Pakistan will take this as an example and do better for captive wild animals in the future. FOUR PAWS is ready to continue providing support and expertise to help improve the lives of as many animals as possible.  


19th April Update:

As we keep on fighting for what is best for Noor Jehan, we are urgently recommending the relocation of Madhubala, the second African elephant in Karachi Zoo. 

Since last year, FOUR PAWS has urgently recommended relocating both elephants to a more species-appropriate home.

In these difficult times, we also have some good news to share. The federal and Sindh government are considering shutting down the Karachi Zoo permanently. This could be a turning point for the welfare of wild animals in captivity in Pakistan. Let's continue to work together to make a difference for these beautiful creatures.


Starting on 4th April FOUR PAWS received an urgent, official request from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), who runs Karachi Zoo, to help with the health assessment and treatment of the deteriorating condition of elephant, Noor Jehan.

The 17-year-old captive African elephant was in serious physical distress and her health was deteriorating.

Our RRR team and vet experts carried out their examination on Noor Jehan, discovering that she is suffering from an inner hematoma due to a ruptured pelvic diaphragm. The team gave her painkillers, treated her open wounds, and advised regular hydrotherapy to reduce the daily pain.

Before the team left Karachi they were seeing improvements in Noor Jehan. 

Noor Jehan elephant scooping sand with her trunk

As it was expected that she would have a long recovery time, KMC signed an agreement and committed to fulfil our recommendations of treatment and enrichment to ensure the survival of Noor Jehan.

Suddenly one week later, FOUR WAS was informed Noor Jehan was laying in the pool in her enclosure and was unable to get up by herself.

Despite our team not being in the zoo themselves, they worked incredibly hard in 24/7 video calls with staff on the ground at the Karachi Zoo, advising on how to lift Noor Jehan out of the pool with the help of a crane and emergency treatment.

We are heartbroken to see that Noor Jehan’s health is still not improving and she is unable to stand by herself, but please know that we are continuing to work with the on-site team and doing everything possible to ease her suffering.

As the elephants in Karachi belong to the state, FOUR PAWS can only advise and provide recommendations, the decision about Noor Jehan and Madhubala’s future lies with the authorities. We are continuing to support the authorities with our expertise to make sure Noor Jehan and Mabhubala receive care tailored to their current specific needs. 

As an urgent next step, the FOUR PAWS expert team is returning to Karachi Zoo as soon as possible to support in its best capacity. We continue to strongly recommend the relocation of the healthy elephant Madhubala, to a species-appropriate location as soon as possible. 

Noor Jehan elephant laying down in the sand, with an umbrella to give her shade

Currently, an urgent committee of international and national experts and vets, including FOUR PAWS staff, are coming together to advise on how to proceed with Noor Jehan's future. We desperately want the best outcome for her.

We’d like to thank you all for your support and concern for Noor Jehan. 

We understand that it is an incredibly distressing situation and can be heartbreaking to see images of her looking so ill.

We’re grateful for the work of the on-site team and volunteers who continue to do everything they possibly can to ease Noor Jehan’s suffering.

Last year, FOUR PAWS suggested relocating the elephants from Karachi to a species-appropriate home. Given the current situation, we’re highlighting the need for the immediate transfer of the healthy elephant, Madhubala, to prevent another tragedy due to lack of proper care.

We hope to see a better future for Pakistan’s elephants, and we will continue to work towards that goal.

Animal Charity

Hannah Baker

Head of Communications UK

Hannah heads up the Communications team for FOUR PAWS UK and handles all press and marketing enquiries as well as managing the social media accounts. Having worked in the animal welfare sector for nearly a decade she has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of what we can do to help our animal friends at home and further afield.

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