Cher Travels To Pakistan To Rescue ‘World’s Loneliest Elephant’ Kaavan
Cher‘s campaign to save “the world’s loneliest elephant” has come to a close with his arrival in Cambodia. Kaavan, a 36-year-old bull elephant, was once the only Asian elephant in Pakistan, but thanks to Cher’s efforts, he will now be joining a a wildlife sanctuary with about 600 other elephants.
— Cher (@cher) November 30, 2020
“I am so proud he is here,” Cher told AFP as she greeted the elephant at the end of his flight. “He’s going to be really happy here.”
Kaavan’s journey to Cambodia started years ago, when animal rights groups started to protest on his behalf. The elephant’s behavior in captivity had led many to believe he was mentally ill as a result of his isolation and the zoo’s poor conditions, and in May, a Pakistani judge ordered that all the animals at the zoo be moved. Due to his size and the amount of food Kaavan needs, global animal welfare organization Four Paws spent several months since then preparing him for his flight – he even had to be taught how to enter his carrying crate. Well prepared, Kaavan ultimately had a safe and uneventful flight.
“Kaavan was eating, was not stressed – he was even a little bit sleeping, standing, leaning at the crate wall,” said Amir Khalil, a veterinarian from Four Paws. “[He acted] like a frequent flyer.”
Kaavan was first welcomed into Cambodia in the city Siem Reap, but will soon be transported to the neighboring province of Oddar Meanchey for his new elephant sanctuary home. His trip to the sanctuary was blessed by monks, who fed him gifts of bananas and watermelons, as well as the country’s deputy environment minister, Neth Pheaktra.
“Cambodia is pleased to welcome Kaavan. No longer will he be ‘the world’s loneliest elephant,’” Pheaktra said. “We expect to breed Kaavan with local elephants – this is an effort to conserve the genetic fold.”
Alongside Kaavan, three wolves and some monkeys were saved from the zoo.