'World's loneliest elephant' who spent years in solitary allowed to leave zoo after 35 years

8 September 2020, 08:47

Kaavan the elephant will be moving on to a better life
Kaavan the elephant will be moving on to a better life. Picture: PA
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

Kaavan the elephant is being moved from the Pakistani zoo for a better life in an animal sanctuary.

An elephant who has lived in a zoo in Pakistan for over 35 years is set to be moved to better conditions after activists campaigned for his release.

Kaavan, known as the 'world's loneliest elephant', has been given medical approval to travel, and will be sent to an animal sanctuary, most likely in Cambodia.

Animal charity Four Paws is behind the elephant's move, and was invited by the Islamabad wildlife management board to the zoo to help transport the remaining animals after the establishment was closed by the high court for poor conditions.

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The team from Four Paws carried out a medical examination on Kaavan
The team from Four Paws carried out a medical examination on Kaavan. Picture: PA

Kaavan has been at the zoo for over three and a half decades, and has been alone in the enclosure since 2012 when his partner died.

A spokesperson for Four Paws, Martin Bauer, said when Kaavan is moved he will be in better conditions and have company from other elephants.

Kaavan has been at the Pakistan zoo for 35 years
Kaavan has been at the Pakistan zoo for 35 years. Picture: PA

Sadly, not all animals in the zoo have been rescued.

Martin Bauer said: “Unfortunately, the rescue comes too late for two lions that died during an attempted transfer at the end of July after local animal handlers set a fire in their enclosure to force them into their transport crates."

Kaavan's examination on Friday last week found that the elephant was overweight, but also showed signs of being malnourished.

Kaavan will be moving to a animal sanctuary in Cambodia
Kaavan will be moving to a animal sanctuary in Cambodia. Picture: PA

The charity spokesperson said: “Following the checks, which confirmed Kaavan is strong enough, steps will now be taken to finalise his relocation to an animal sanctuary potentially in Cambodia."

However, there will be a long road to recovery for Kaavan, who doesn't only have physical injuries but also mental ones, as he exhibit behavioural issues.

This move comes after years of animal activists campaigning for the beautiful creature to be freed, including celebrities such as Cher.

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