Finding sanctuary: Kaavan is a 36-year-old, 9,000-pound elephant that has languished in Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad for over 30 years before he was transferred to a sanctuary in Cambodia on Monday, reported the New York Post.
- On Tuesday, Kaavan was seen reaching his trunk out to touch one of the elephants through the bars of his enclosure, the first time he’s made contact with another elephant in eight years.
- Kaavan used to have the company of another elephant named Saheli, who died in 2012. Saheli’s death deeply affected Kaavan, who eventually suffered from mental health issues.
- A representative for Vienna-based animal rescue group Four Paws, Martin Bauer, noted how Kaavan exhibited signs of boredom and misery, such as throwing his head from side to side.
- The elephant was a gift to Pakistan by Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s.
- Kaavan’s plight has captured global attention, earning him the moniker of “world’s loneliness elephant.”
- Free The Wild, a charitable foundation by the iconic singer Cher, has been working with philanthropist Eric Margolis and Four Paws to relocate Kaavan since 2016.
Making new friends: The move, which took four years and cost around $400,000, was completed on Monday morning with Kaavan’s arrival in the 25,000-acre Kulen Prom Tep Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Three Asian female elephants are also situated in the sanctuary which means Kaavan will have all the company he needs, according to an earlier report by the New York Post.
- Cher herself greeted Kaavan upon his arrival and serenaded him with a song. The singer is also making a documentary about the process.
- Due to the pandemic, Kaavan had to take a COVID-19 test followed by a 30-day quarantine upon his arrival following a negative test, according to CBS.
- Egyptian veterinarian Dr. Amir Khalil is one of Kaavan’s closest friends, gaining the elephant’s trust and helping him lose 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms) over the span of three months before his relocation.
- “Elephants are ambassadors from the jungle, and they deserve to live like ambassadors,” Khalil said.