‘World’s Loneliest Elephant’ Okayed By Medics To Leave Zoo For New Home
Kaavan the elephant will be allowed to leave Islamabad Zoo in the Pakistani capital, having finally been given medical approval to travel - most likely to Cambodia, according to Martin Bauer, a spokesman for animal welfare organisation Four Paws.
Here Kaavan will not only have the better conditions that animal rights activists have been campaigning for, but also companionship, having lost his partner back in 2012 and subsequently battled with loneliness.
Bauer said: "Following the checks, which confirmed Kaavan is strong enough, steps will now be taken to finalise his relocation to an animal sanctuary potentially in Cambodia."
Bauer added that Kaavan's recovery will be a lengthy one as his wounds are more than just physical - the elephant also suffers with behavioural issues.
"He also developed stereotypical behaviour, which means he shakes his head back and forth for hours," Bauer explained.
"This is mainly because he is simply bored."
The Four Paws team, which included wildlife veterinarians and experts, carried out Kaavan's full physical examination at the zoo on Friday.
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It comes as the latest development in the elephant's story, as campaigners have petitioned to free Kaavan from Islamabad Zoo for years, claiming he is badly mistreated - being kept in chains and showing symptoms of distress.
He was also without a companion after his only playmate died, with activists dubbing him the 'world's loneliest elephant'.
Earlier this year, a court finally declared that 33-year-old Kaavan should be freed from the zoo.
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."
On 17 July, the Pakistan government then gave consent for animal welfare organisation Free the Wild to relocate Kaavan to a sanctuary in Cambodia - meaning he just had to wait for medical checks before a permit to move him could be applied for.
His plight became so prominent that even celebrities began to lobby for his relocation, including singer Cher.
Bauer continued: "Unfortunately, the rescue comes too late for two lions that died during an attempted transfer at the end of July after local animal handlers set a fire in their enclosure to force them into their transport crates."
It is believed Kaavan is currently being trained 'to enter his temporary transport crate, until he is comfortable and familiar with it'. This is a process that is expected to take around three to four weeks, meaning he is due to be freed by the end of September.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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