"World's loneliest elephant" leaves for Cambodia after living in Pakistan for 35 years
Islamabad, Nov 30: Kaavan, considered to be the 'world's loneliest' elephant, has been set to get a new home of friends at a sanctuary in Cambodia.
After years of lobbying by animal rights activists and groups, Four Paws International, a Vienna-based animal welfare group, led the charge to save Kaavan, who has been languishing at the Marghazar Zoo in Pakistan for 35 years. He is set to leave for a sanctuary in Cambodia on Sunday.
The battle for his relocation began in 2016.
Thirty-five-year-old Kaavan was diagnosed by veterinarians as both overweight and malnourished earlier this year, and also suffers behavioural issues.
Around him, animals disappeared from their enclosures, rumoured to be bound for the plates of the wealthy, while his only companion died, allegedly of sepsis brought on by those bull-hook nails digging deep into her skin.
And for years, it seemed that no one cared about the elephant's lonely fate. His wounds became infected and the chains around his legs slowly left permanent scars. He drifted slowly into psychosis and obesity.
Iconic singer and actor Cher took up Kaavan's cause and has been a loud voice in advocating for his resettlement. She reached Pakistan on Friday to meet Kaavan before he was relocated to Cambodia. Thanks to the efforts of Pakistani activists as well, Kaavan's fate made headlines around the world, and this contributed to the facilitation of his transfer, Martin Bauer of Four Paws International told The Associated Press on Friday.
Four Paws, which often carries out animal rescue missions, has provided the medical treatment needed before Kaavan can travel. Even after Kaavan reaches Cambodia, he will require years of physical and even psychological assistance, Bauer said.
According to a report in BBC, Kaavan was kept at Sri Lanka's Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (PEO) when he was a calf. It is believed that the Sri Lankan government gifted Kaavan to former Pakistan military ruler General Zia-ul Haq when the pachyderm was a year-old, for supporting the island country's army during an insurgency.