The “World’s Loneliest Elephant” has finally moved to an animal sanctuary… and made a friend!
Pakistan (04 December 2020) – Following years of public outcry and campaigning by American pop star Cher, the “World’s Loneliest Elephant” made an arduous journey from Pakistan to a sanctuary in Cambodia on Sunday… and made a new friend on arrival.
Kaavan – the elephant – was just a year old when he came to Pakistan’s Marghazar Zoo in 1985 as a gift from Sri Lanka. He spent decades at the Islamabad Zoo in a small enclosure with few of the amenities required for the physical or mental health of an animal of such high intelligence.
The 36-year-old, 4000-kilogram elephant had once enjoyed the company of his partner Saheli, who died in 2012 while they were living in the Zoo. Kaavan is both overweight and malnourished, as well as suffering from mental health issues following the loss of Saheli, according to Martin Bauer, a spokesman for Four Paws, a Vienna-based animal rescue group. Elephants are known to be social animals who benefit from the company of others of their kind.
The conditions were so dire at the zoo that a Pakistani court ordered it to be shut down in May this year, and all the animals to be relocated. That sparked a global effort to evacuate the animals, and especially Kaavan.
Cher joined the campaign to get Kaavan out of the Zoo. Along with U.S. businessman Eric Margolis and the group Four Paws International, she helped pay for his relocation through her charity, Free the Wild. Local Pakistani activists first put Kaavan’s plight on Cher’s radar with a Twitter campaign, aiming messages with the hashtag #SaveKaavan and #FreeKaavan at celebrities worldwide.
Cher even made a trip to Pakistan on Friday last week to help move the elephant to the sanctuary in Cambodia and within just a couple of hours the “world’s loneliest elephant” made a friend!
The wildlife sanctuary in Oddar Meanchey province already shelters three female elephants and Kaavan was seen greeting one of them, reaching his trunk out to touch theirs through the bars of his enclosure Tuesday at his new home.