Elephant Madhubala during her crate training in Pakistan

Hope for Lonely Madhubala as Relocation Is Picking Up Speed

FOUR PAWS on ground for crucial improvement work of future enclosure


Vienna/Karachi, 16 April 2024 – Ever since the tragic death of elephant Noor Jehan at Karachi Zoo one year ago, African elephant Madhubala has suffered from loneliness, her only remaining companion being an old tire. Now, her relocation is within close reach: After a delay due to political changes in Pakistan, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by representatives of global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), allowing for substantial improvement work at Karachi Safari Park that has already started. Madhubala’s relocation and the reunion with her two elephant sisters, Malika and Sonia, will serve as a milestone, reflecting Pakistan’s commitment to advancing animal welfare.

An expert team of FOUR PAWS is back in Karachi to oversee the improvement work at Safari Park, after previous arrangements concerning Madhubala’s future were obsolete and efforts paused due to a change in government in 2023. Madhubala has been in solitary confinement since the death of her companion Noor Jehan. The solitary confinement has taken a strong toll on her mental condition, with boredom being her biggest stressor. Therefore, it is crucial that the crate training – which aims to teach her how to enter her transport crate by herself – has awoken her playfulness and challenges not only her physical but also her cognitive skills.

“Ever since the MoU was signed, we have been working tirelessly together with the stakeholders in Karachi to swiftly relocate Madhubala but the comprehensive improvements take some time. Madhubala has made great progress so far and with the remaining training, we are making sure that she is fully prepared for the two-hour transfer from Karachi Zoo to Karachi Safari Park. Even though the long time in solitude has left some emotional scars, Madhubala is adjusting well and curious about the preparation efforts. It is high time she experienced more joy again, and a life worthy of an elephant,” 

Dr Amir Khalil FOUR PAWS veterinarian

“We are grateful to the responsible authorities in Karachi for finally paving the way for Madhubala’s relocation. The signed Memorandum of Understanding will guarantee the safety and wellbeing of the three remaining African elephants in Pakistan. Madhubala’s loneliness will soon come to an end, and we look forward to seeing her thrive in her new home. It is one of the main pillars of the work of FOUR PAWS to make sure we find sustainable long-term solutions to improve the lives of as many animals as possible together with our local stakeholders and global network. This is another important step for better animal welfare in Pakistan,” says FOUR PAWS CEO and President Josef Pfabigan.

A species-appropriate home with plenty of enrichments

One mandatory criterion for the relocation of Madhubala to Karachi Safari Park is the improvement of the living conditions for all three elephants to international standards. FOUR PAWS provided recommendations and is overseeing the effective implementation of the required improvements. Going forward, an independent task force will monitor the continued maintenance and fulfillment of the elephants’ species-appropriate living conditions. The designated 5.2-acre sanctuary area within Karachi Safari Park will undergo extensive improvements to prepare for the relocation of Madhubala. The elephant enclosures will have water elements for bathing, skin care and thermoregulation. Additionally, enrichments such as hay nets, varying substrates like soil, sand, clay, and sawdust, are provided for Madhubala to dust bathe, as well as a place to hide novel items to encourage foraging. The area is secured by elephant-proof fencing.

Here you can read more about the work of FOUR PAWS for elephants in Pakistan so far.

FOUR PAWS first became active in Pakistan in 2020, with the spectacular rescue of elephant Kaavan.

Lonely elephant Madhubala in Pakistan

Pakistan's Last Captive Elephants

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Michael Kellner

Michael Kellner

PR International Officer


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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org

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