‘World’s Loneliest Elephant’ Starts Trip To Cambodia Sanctuary
The ‘world’s loneliest elephant’, Kaavan, is finally ready for his flight to a sanctuary in Cambodia, where he will spend the rest of his days in the company of other elephants.
The most crucial part of the journey was trying to get him into the elephant-sized metal crate that will transport him, but after several hours of coaxing he finally entered the cage.
US singer Cher, who has has spent years campaigning to raise awareness about the plight of the elephant, arrived in Islamabad last week as the process of removing Kaavan from the zoo began. ‘My wishes have finally come true’, Cher said in a statement thanking her charity, Free the Wild.
‘We have been counting down to this moment and dreaming of it for so long and to finally see Kaavan transported out of the zoo will remain with us forever,’ she said.
The elephant has been captive in a zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan for the last 35 years and has suffered tremendously since losing his partner Saheli in 2012. Since then, he has struggled with behavioural issues, spending most of his days shaking his head back and forth.
Kaavan’s rescue is being led by Four Paws International, a Vienna-based animal charity that began its mission to save the elephant in 2016.
A medical examination undertaken in September revealed that Kaavan’s nails were completely cracked and overgrown; the result of many years living in an enclosure that didn’t have appropriate flooring, therefore damaging his feet.
‘Thanks to Cher, but also local Pakistani activists, Kaavan’s fate made headlines around the world, and this contributed to the facilitation of his transfer,’ Four Paws spokesperson Martin Bauer explained, adding Kaavan will need continual physical and psychological help after arriving at the sanctuary.
‘Celebrities lending their voices to good causes are always welcomed, as they help starting public discourse and raising pressure on responsible authorities.’
The zoo is no longer open after a court in Islamabad found more than 30 of its animals to be living in extremely poor conditions and ordered it to close in August.
Dr. Amir Khalil, a veterinarian with Four Paws who’s been treating Kaavan’s wounds and ailments over the past three months, said he was hopeful about the next chapter of the elephant’s life, as per NBC News.
‘In the sanctuary in Cambodia… waiting for him is three ladies, three Asian female elephants,’ he said. ‘Now Kaavan might have a new partner, and share a new life with a partner.’
Here’s to hoping Kaavan can live the rest of his days in the sanctuary as a much happier elephant.
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