‘World’s loneliest elephant’ has been transported to Cambodia where it is hoped that he will produce ‘many’ babies if he adapts well to the surroundings. In his first contact with another elephant in eight years, Kaavan reached out with his trunk to greet another elephant in Cambodian sanctuary.
The 35-year-old was the sole Asian elephant in Pakistan after his mate Saheli died in 2020 due to sepsis at the Marghazar Zoo. Kaavan was gifted by Sri Lanka to Pakistan as a goodwill gesture between the two countries in 1985.
Kaavan was rescued from grim conditions in Islamabad zoo and flown to Cambodia on November 30 where he will be beginning a new life. Currently, he is being kept at the Kulen Prum Tep Wildlife Sanctuary, after a long campaign launched by animal rights group and American musician Cher to save him.
Cher travelled to Pakistan to see him off from Pakistan and also reached Siem Reap airport before him to welcome Kaavan. According to Kaavan’s caretaker, he is already getting friendly with other elephants. In one of the pictures clicked by sanctuary, Kaavan can be seen greeting fellow elephant by touching trunks.
Once gelled up with the atmosphere in the sanctuary, Kaavan could be rehomed with three females. Right now, he is exploring his new home and playing with sand, mud and water.
Sok Hong, president of the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) and now Kaavan’s new caretaker, in conversation with Phom Pehn Post said that depending on his progress, Kaavan could be released into the wild with three other female elephants in Oddar Meachey province after years of sufferings in Pakistan.
He also added that their plan is to feed and train him to live like other wild animals and stated that he still misses his mate, Saheli.
Neth Pheaktra, Cambodian Environment Minister in a statement said that Kaavan will not be lonely anymore and hope that he produces many Asian baby-elephants for Cambodia.He also added that their plan is to breed Kaavan with local elephants to ‘conserve the genetic fold.’
“Cambodia will provide a new life and hope for this lonely elephant. The team of conservationists who rescued him from a zoo in Pakistan prevailed in a legal battle, and the High Court of Pakistan decided to set Kaavan free and send him to live in our wildlife sanctuary,” he said.