Sadly, one elephant has spent his life in the crowded confines of a zoo—and even worse, without the companionship of others of his kind.
But now, that’s finally going to change.
Kaavan is an elephant who has spent most of his life in the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan. He was brought to the zoo in 1985 from Sri Lanka, and has stayed there for the past 35 years.
For much of his time in the zoo, Kaavan at least had the companionship of another elephant, his partner Saheli… but sadly, she died in 2012, leaving Kaavan all alone.
He has since become known as the “world’s loneliest elephant.”
Making things worse, Kaavan lived in poor conditions at the zoo. He was kept in a confinement too small for an elephant, and was chained up.
According to Four Paws International, the Marghazar Zoo has often been under scrutiny for their treatment of animals: two lions died after their small enclosure caught fire, and over 500 animals have been reported missing.
It was no way for any animal to live… but luckily this elephant’s years of loneliness may be behind him.
Animal activists have long been lobbying to free Kaavan, trying to relocate him to a sanctuary where he will be treated better and get to spend time with other elephants.
That wish is finally coming true: Four Paws International announced that Kaavan will finally be relocated, most likely to an animal sanctuary in Cambodia.
His freedom was not guaranteed, however: Kaavan has developed medical issues, many due to years of boredom and loneliness, and veterinarians worried he might not be able to travel.
“Due to malnutrition and lack of physical exercise Kaavan shows visible signs of obesity,” said Dr Amir Khalil, Four Paws veterinarian and mission leader. “His nails are cracked and malformed which can be attributed to the inappropriate flooring and structure of his enclosure.”
However, a medical examination was performed on Kaavan recently, and vets found he was well enough for the move: “Overall, the results from his blood tests are good and his general health condition allows him to be relocated,” said Dr Frank Göritz, head veterinarian at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Congrats, Kaavan! We can’t wait to see you in your new home. We know you’ll be much happier now!
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