Kaavan The ‘Loneliest’ elephant! Kaavan was reportedly scheduled to be airlifted to an elephant sanctuary on Sunday following years of lobbying by animal rights campaigners and pop star Cher to save him from bleak situations with no partner.
Experts spent hours coaxing a mildly sedated Kaavan into a specially built metal crate that was to be hoisted onto a lorry and brought to Islamabad airport, at one point using ropes to help drag him in.
From there, Kaavan will be sent to Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia via a Russian jumbo transport jet for a long flight. The plane will stop in New Delhi for refuelling. The 36-year old elephant is now assisted by a 10-member care staff.
In a brief address on the occasion, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change (SAPM) Malik Amin Aslam said that a reception committee would receive Kaavan at the Cambodian airport.
Kaavan will initially be housed in an area of 10 acres planned for him from where he will be able to see others of his genus, Aslam said.
“It’s really the right choice to send him to a place where he can be with other elephants of his kind […],” SAPM Aslam told AFP.
“In Cambodia, we will be happy to see him happy, and we hope that very soon he will find a partner.”
Cher, the popular singer and Oscar-winning star, spent recent days at the Islamabad zoo offering emotional assistance to Kaavan, a 36-year-old overweight bull elephant, whose pitiful care at the dilapidated facility prompted an outrage from the artist’s animal rights organisations and a spirited social media movement.Kaavan The ‘Loneliest’ elephant!
Kaavan The ‘Loneliest’ elephant set to leave Pakistan
Before the journey to a 10,000-hectare (25,000-acre) Cambodian wildlife sanctuary, she spent several days visiting Kaavan in the Pakistani capital, with Prime Minister Imran Khan personally thanking the 74-year-old actress.
In a statement thanking her charity Free The Wild, Cher said, “My wishes have finally come true.”
“We have been counting down to this moment and dreaming of it for so long and will stay with us forever to finally see Kaavan transported from the Islamabad] zoo. Cher was due to fly to Cambodia on Sunday when the elephant arrives in the Southeast Asian nation.”
The case of Kaavan and the woeful circumstances at the zoo led to this year’s Islamabad High Court (IHC) top judge ordering all the animals to be relocated.
“Kaavan’s fate made headlines around the globe thanks to Cher and also to local Pakistani activists, and this contributed to the facilitation of his transfer,” said Martin Bauer, a spokesperson for Four Paws International, an animal advocacy organisation that has championed the resettlement effort.
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The IHC shared its best wishes for Kavaan on Friday and hoped that the animal would live a peaceful life in its natural environment.
This court wants Kaavan bon voyage and hopes that by finding guidance from its example, other animal species will be safeguarded from damage,” the court noted after a hearing.”
Officials and well-wishers gathered at Islamabad Zoo on Monday to bid Kaavan farewell. He also got a farewell on Tuesday at Islamabad’s Marghzar Zoo from President Arif Alvi and First Lady Samina Alvi.
Safe journey to Kaavan The ‘Loneliest’ elephant