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Elephant Kept In Chains For 35 Years Finds New Home In Cambodian Sanctuary

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Elephant Kept In Chains For 35 Years Finds New Home In Cambodian Sanctuary

An elephant who spent 35 years shackled in a zoo is finally be able to live out his life at a new home in an 25,000-acre animal sanctuary in Cambodia, with the move set to take place next month.

For years, campaigners have petitioned to free Kaavan the elephant from Islamabad Zoo in Pakistan, where many claim he was badly mistreated - not only kept in chains but also showing symptoms of mental distress.

Credit: Friends of Islamabad Zoo
Credit: Friends of Islamabad Zoo

He was also without a companion after his only playmate died, with activists dubbing him the 'world's loneliest elephant'.

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Earlier this year, a court declared 33-year-old Kaavan should be freed from the zoo.

Even singer Cher got involved, expressing her joy on Twitter when a court declared 33-year-old Kaavan should be released from the zoo earlier this year.

Ordering the release of the caged animals in May, Chief Justice Athar Minallah said: "Neither are there adequate facilities nor resources to provide living conditions that would meet the behavioural, social and physiological needs of the animals."

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On 17 July, the Pakistan government then gave consent for animal welfare organisation Free the Wild to relocate Kaavan to a sanctuary in Cambodia.

Ammar Pervaiz - a member of Friends of Islamabad Zoo, a group concerned about animal welfare at the Pakistan zoo - tweeted: "Finally, Kaavan is going to Cambodia! I can't express how happy I am for Kaavan. Thank you to all the beautiful souls across the globe who raised their voice and showed their support especially IWMB and advocate Owais Awa."

Credit: AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images
Credit: AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images

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Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne, co-founder of Free the Wild - which has been actively involved in Kaavan's case for some time - said: "[We] are delighted by the news from Pakistan regarding the relocation and retirement of Kaavan, Pakistan's last remaining Asian elephant... after 5 years of relentless effort by Free the Wild and Team Kaavan."

Following the news in July, Free the Wild said it was working with its team of vets to check Kaavan's health, before applying for the permit to move him.

Kaavan would then have to be trained 'to enter his temporary transport crate, until he is comfortable and familiar with it', a process that was expected to take around three to four weeks, meaning he is due to be freed by the end of September.

Featured Image Credit: AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images

Topics: World News, News, elephants, Animals

Jess Hardiman
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