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After Years Of Tooth Anguish Pakistan’s Madhubala Elephant Finds Relief

By Chinelo Eze
29 August 2022   |   9:42 am
Madhubala, a 16-year-old elephant in Pakistan, received treatment while under a special standing sedation technique, bringing relief to her pain from a fractured tusk and a dental infection. An eight-person team from the international animal welfare organisation Four Paws is caring for Madhubala, one of four African elephants, in Karachi. In 2020, Four Paws transferred…

Madhubala, a 16-year-old elephant in Pakistan, received treatment while under a special standing sedation technique, bringing relief to her pain from a fractured tusk and a dental infection.

An eight-person team from the international animal welfare organisation Four Paws is caring for Madhubala, one of four African elephants, in Karachi. In 2020, Four Paws transferred Kaavan, the elephant known as the world’s loneliest, from Islamabad to Cambodia.

Their visit comes after the Sindh High Court (SHC) in Karachi ordered Four Paws to evaluate the animals’ well-being last year after local animal rights activists expressed concerns in court.

Named after a well-known Indian actress, Madhubala was supported at the Karachi Zoo by having her legs fastened to side grills and her eyes taped shut.

Their visit comes after the Sindh High Court (SHC) in Karachi ordered Four Paws to evaluate the animals’ well-being last year after local animal rights activists expressed concerns in court.

Named after a well-known Indian actress, Madhubala was supported by having her legs fastened to side grills while being sedated and treated at the Karachi Zoo. Her eyelids were taped shut.

The contaminated tusk came out in bits and pieces, and the veterinarians had to employ drills and other powerful surgical tools to remove it.

Speaking to the media about the extracted tusk, Dr Marina Ivanova said, “Due to long-term inflammation the tissue is so fragile and thin it’s not possible to take it out at once, it is breakable,” also stating that an endoscopy performed prior to the treatment revealed the whole tusk inside measured 31 centimetres (12.2 inches).

She emphasised that the removal of the tusk would cause a large wound, therefore the wound would require daily cleaning.

Madhubala did not put up much of a fight during the five to six-hour treatment since she was kept sedated.

Team head Dr Aamir Khalil noted that they are thrilled to start the first novel procedure at the Zoo in standing posture, not in sleeping or complete anaesthesia as it might be harmful to the elephant and could be fatal, something that no one wants.

Khalil noted that the condition of the other elephants had significantly improved since their foot care programme began two months prior and that there was still plenty to be done to ensure the health of the animals.