Kaavan, the world’s loneliest elephant, has landed in Cambodia from Pakistan. He has been languishing at the Marghazar zoo in Pakistan for 35 years. A Vienna-based animal welfare group, Four Paws International, led the case to save Kaavan from captivity. Kaavan was the only Asian elephant in Pakistan.
The battle to relocate Kaavan started in 2016 when he lost his partner, Saheli, in 2012. Earlier this year, veterinarians diagnosed the 35-year-old Kaavan as both overweight and malnourished. He also suffers behavioural issues.
The case of Kaavan sparked global uproar from various animal rights groups, who petitioned his move from the Islamabad zoo. A spirited social media campaign led by American singer Cher has played a massive part in relocating him.
Cher, the iconic singer and actor, travelled to Pakistan and serenaded Kaavan with the song A Dream is a wish your heart makes. Cher is said to have heard of Kaavan through Twitter.
In a Facebook post, non-profit Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary said that Kaavan would be living in a vast forest enclosure, where most of his food will be provided naturally along with his fruit treats. Three other elephants currently live at the sanctuary.
Earlier this year, Islamabad’s High Court closed the controversial zoo due to its poor state and gave animal welfare organization, Four Paws International orders to remove Kaavan. He was gifted to Pakistan by Sri Lanka when he was a baby. It is believed that Kaavan was gifted to support the army during an insurgency.