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German expert submits preliminary report on Karachi Zoo elephants

A team of four veterinary doctors led by German expert Dr Frank Goritz in its preliminary findings prepared after the medical examination of four elephants of Karachi Zoo and Safari Park declared their overall physical condition good but observed that they had malformed nails, abscesses and severe dental problems.

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KARACHI: A team of four veterinary doctors led by German expert Dr Frank Goritz in its preliminary findings prepared after the medical examination of four elephants of Karachi Zoo and Safari Park declared their overall physical condition good but observed that they had malformed nails, abscesses and severe dental problems.

A two-member Sindh High Court bench headed by Justice Zafar Ahmed Rajput declined to have a preliminary report on court’s record and directed the petitioner to get a comprehensive report prepared from the German expert incorporating opinion of two doctors from the Lahore Zoo.

The bench gave three weeks’ time for preparing and submitting the report.

“All elephants are slightly overweight and developed mild subcutaneous edema (accumulation of body water in the tissue),” read the preliminary findings.

Read More: SHC orders medical examination of zoo elephants by German expert

The findings stated that trans rectal ultrasound and the rapid blood analysis did not reveal any major pathology of the internal organs examined.

“However, both animals at the zoo showed low hemoglobin concentration and decreased hematocrit/PCV,” read the findings.

The findings pointed out that the elephant Sonu presented as a male turned out to be female.

The findings observed that both elephants at the Safari Park had severe foot problems including cracked nails, overgrown food pads, overgrown and malformed nails, and abscesses.

The findings stated that both the elephants at Karachi Zoo had severe dental problems including broken tusks with exposed and infected pulp cavities.

The findings recommended the implementation of medical training into a daily routine to provide proper foot care to the elephants besides surgical removal of damaged and infected tusks and general anti-infectious and anti-inflammatory treatment as an immediate action.

As an immediate action, the findings recommended vaccination of all elephants against tetanus and other clostridia.

“Foot and dental problems are very painful and can lead to life-threatening situations in elephants,” the findings observed and stated that to prevent this and to improve animal welfare efforts were needed urgently.

As long-term actions, the findings stated that efforts were needed to provide species-specific keeping conditions necessary, for housing a group of adult female elephants safely, both for the animal and for the people, elephant personnel and visitors.

For long-term measures, the findings recommended training the animal to receive routine body care and basic check-ups as well as to provide simple veterinary care including injections, treatment of creaked nails and wounds to prevent disease manifestation and decline of general health conditions.

The team also included Head Dept Reproduction Management Professor Thomas Hildebrandt, Director of Project Development Dr Amir Khalil, Four Paws International, and Senior Project Manager Dr Marina Ivanova. The team was invited by welfare organisation Four Paws.

Earlier in September, a Sindh High Court bench had directed Karachi Metropolitan Corporation(KMC) to get four elephants of Karachi Zoological Garden and Safari Park examined by renowned German veterinary Doctor Frank Goritz.

The directions were issued on a petition regarding the ill-keeping of four elephants at Karachi Zoo and Safari Park.


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