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‘World’s loneliest elephant’ lands in Cambodia

作者:admin 2020-12-01

‘World’s loneliest elephant’ lands in Cambodia

Amir Khalil (right), a veterinarian and director of the project development for Four Paws International, helps to place a crate into an enclosure prior to transporting Kaavan, Pakistan's only Asian elephant,from the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad to a sanctuary in Cambodia on Sunday. Photo: AFP

An elephant dubbed the "world's loneliest" landed in Cambodia Monday from Pakistan, receiving a warm welcome from American superstar Cher who will accompany him to a sanctuary housing potential mates.

The case of Kaavan - an overweight, 36-year-old bull elephant - sparked global uproar from animal rights groups, who petitioned for his move from an Islamabad zoo accused of substandard care and conditions.

His cause was boosted by a spirited social media campaign by Cher, who traveled to Pakistan to see him off.

Wearing a black face mask, the singer was on hand at Siem Reap airport and waved excitedly at the plane after it landed around 2:30 pm.

"I am so proud he is here," she told AFP, after greeting Kaavan through an opening at the base of the crate.

"He's going to be really happy here," said Cher, adding that she is hopeful his ordeal is now over.

Kaavan's much-anticipated journey was "uneventful," said Amir Khalil, a veterinarian from animal welfare group Four Paws, adding he behaved "like a frequent flyer."

"Kaavan was eating, was not stressed - he was even a little bit sleeping, standing, leaning at the crate wall," he said. 

Once the sole Asian elephant in Pakistan, Kaavan will be transported from Siem Reap to neighboring province Oddar Meanchey where a wildlife sanctuary with about 600 other elephants will be his new home.

"Cambodia is pleased to welcome Kaavan. No longer will he be 'the world's loneliest elephant,'" deputy environment minister Neth Pheaktra said.

"We expect to breed Kaavan with local elephants - this is an effort to conserve the genetic fold," the minister told AFP.

Before he was transported to the sanctuary, monks offered him bananas and watermelon, chanting prayers and sprinkling holy water on his crate to bless him.


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