Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
'World’s Loneliest Elephant' Arrives Safely in Cambodia
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 3 years ago on
November 30, 2020

Share

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The pachyderm dubbed the “ world’s loneliest elephant ” after languishing alone for years in a Pakistani zoo was greeted on his arrival in Cambodia on Monday by chanting Buddhist monks and was then sent on his way to a wildlife sanctuary.

Like other travelers during these times, Kaavan needed to be tested for COVID-19 before his flight. Once his large metal crate was safely on board, Kaavan was provided with in-flight snacks — 200 kilograms of them — for the seven-hour journey.

Kaavan was not stressed during the flight, eating his food and even getting a little bit of sleep standing in his crate, said Amir Khalil, a veterinarian who accompanied him on the flight and works with Four Paws, the Vienna-headquartered animal rescue group that organized the move.

“He behaves like a frequent flier. The flight was uneventful, which is all you can ask for when you transfer an elephant,” Khalil said.

The 36-year-old, 9,000 pound elephant received a warm welcome on arrival in Cambodia from officials, conservationists and the Buddhist monks, who chanted prayers for his harmony and prosperity.

Kaavan, a 1985 gift from Sri Lanka to Pakistan, had been living in the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad with his partner Saheli, who died in 2012. The zoo fell on hard times and conditions got so bad that a court in the Pakistani capital ordered the zoo closed in August.

The plight of the male Asian elephant has captured worldwide attention, including from the American singer and actor Cher, who has been closely involved in his rescue and was in Cambodia for Kaavan’s arrival.

Cher’s animal welfare group Free the Wild has worked with Four Paws and the American syndicated columnist and philanthropist, Eric Margolis, to relocate Kaavan — a mission that’s cost about $400,000.

Veterinarians and Elephant Experts Working for Four Paws Spent Three Months in Islamabad

According to Four Paws, very few adult elephants have ever been relocated by plane, so preparations were arduous.

Veterinarians and elephant experts working for Four Paws spent three months in Islamabad, coaching Kaavan three times a day on how to enter and exit safely and without stress his four-ton travel crate, which includes a system that can hold up to 53 gallons of urine.

He was also dangerously overweight due to his unsuitable diet of around 550 pounds of sugar cane each day. With Khalil’s help, Kaavan lost 1,000 pounds over the past three months.

Kaavan’s wounds are emotional as well as physical. He would spend his days throwing his head from side to side, a stereotypical sign of boredom and misery in an elephant, said Martin Bauer, a spokesman for Four Paws.

The loss of his mate Saheli took a toll on Kaavan’s mental health. Elephants are social animals that thrive on the company of other elephants, Bauer explained. For Kaavan, the last eight years have been akin to living in quarantine — something the world has come to understand all too well amid the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

Late Monday, Kaaven was being driven by truck to a camp in northern Cambodia where he should be able to leave his crate on Tuesday.

“Once Kaavan feels at home in a controlled setting, he will be released in a wildlife sanctuary, in Oddar Meanchey province, in the northern section of Cambodia, where some 600 Asian elephants live in peace and tranquility,” said a statement from Neth Pheaktra, a spokesman for the Environment Ministry. “Pachyderms can live for many years and even at 36, we hope that he will contribute to the gene pool.”

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

DON'T MISS

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

DON'T MISS

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

DON'T MISS

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

DON'T MISS

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

DON'T MISS

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

DON'T MISS

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

DON'T MISS

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

DON'T MISS

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have Execute It’: FUSD Board President

DON'T MISS

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

UP NEXT

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

UP NEXT

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

UP NEXT

Full Jury and 6 Alternates Seated in Trump’s Hush Money Trial

UP NEXT

San Francisco Mayor Announces the City Will Receive Pandas from China

UP NEXT

Finding an Apartment May Be Easier for California Pet Owners Under New Legislation

UP NEXT

Abandoned Pup LB Finds Hope and Healing. He’s Available for Adoption at Mell’s Mutts.

UP NEXT

Iran Fires at Suspected Israeli Drones Near Isfahan Air Base, Nuclear Facility

UP NEXT

US Vetoes Full United Nations Membership for Palestine

UP NEXT

Barbara Corcoran: 1% Interest Rate Drop Will Send Housing Prices ‘Through the Roof’

UP NEXT

US and UK Issue New Sanctions on Iran in Response to Tehran’s Weekend Attack on Israel

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

4 hours ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

16 hours ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

17 hours ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

17 hours ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

18 hours ago

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have Execute It’: FUSD Board President

19 hours ago

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

19 hours ago

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

20 hours ago

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

20 hours ago

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

22 hours ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

You might have noticed that the tangy taste of pickles has taken over more than just the condiment aisle. From pickle-flavored popcorn to pi...

4 hours ago

4 hours ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

4 hours ago

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

4 hours ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

4 hours ago

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

16 hours ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

17 hours ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

17 hours ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

18 hours ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend