The world’s lone elephant arrives safely in Cambodia

Called the “lonest elephant in the world,” pachiderm, after farming alone at a Pakistani zoo for years, was greeted by the chanting of Buddhist monks on arrival in Cambodia and is now on his way to a wildlife sanctuary.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Named “the lonest elephant in the world,” pachyderm, after years of being afflicted alone at a Pakistani zoo, was greeted in Cambodia on Monday when he arrived in Cambodia by chanting Buddhist monks and then sent to a wildlife sanctuary.

Like other travelers at these times, Kaavan had to inspect COVID-19 before flying. After his large metal crate was safe on board, Kaavan provided in-flight snacks – 200 kilograms (440 pounds) – for the seven-hour voyage.

Kaavan was not stressful during the flight, ate food and even slept a little while standing in his crate, said Amir Khalil, a veterinarian who accompanied the flight and works with Four Paws, a Vienna-based animal rescue group. organized the move.

“He often acts like an airplane. The flight was uneventful, that’s all you can ask for when moving an elephant, ”Khalil said.

Arriving in Cambodia, the 36-year-old elephant weighing 4,080 kilograms (£ 9,000) received a warm welcome from officials, conservationists and Buddhist monks who prayed for his harmony and prosperity.

Kaavan, Sri Lanka’s 1985 gift to Pakistan, lived at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad with his partner, Saheli, who passed away in 2012. The zoo was in difficult times and was in such poor condition that a court in the Pakistani capital ordered the zoo to close in August.

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

Cher Free the Wild’s animal welfare team worked with four Paws and U.S. syndicated columnist and charity Eric Margolis to relocate Kaavan – the mission cost about $ 400,000.

According to the Four Paws, very few adult elephants were ever relocated by plane, so preparations were cumbersome.

Veterinarians and elephant experts at Four Paws spent three months in Islamabad, training Kaavan three times a day on how to safely and stress-freely enter and exit his four-ton suitcase, which also includes a system capable of up to 200 liters (53). gallon) urine.

He was also dangerously overweight because of his inadequate diet, which was 250 kilograms (550 pounds) of sugar cane a day. With Khalil’s help, Kaavan has lost 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms) in the last three months.

Kaavan’s wounds are both emotional and physical. He spent 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 companion, Saheli, had a major impact on Kaavan’s mental health. Elephants are social animals that thrive in the company of other elephants, Bauer explained. For Kaavan, the past eight years have been similar to quarantine – a world that understood all too well in the midst of a coronavirus epidemic, he said.

At the end of Monday, Kaavent was driven by truck to a camp in northern Cambodia, where he had to leave his crate on Tuesday.

“As soon as Kaavan feels at home under controlled conditions, he will be released at a wildlife sanctuary in Oddar Meanchey Province, northern Cambodia, where some 600 Asian elephants live in peace and tranquility,” Neth Pheaktra said in a statement. , a spokesman for the Department of the Environment said: “Pachyderms can live for many years, even at age 36, we hope to contribute to the gene pool.”