Thu, 21 Jan 2021

Islamabad [Pakistan], November 29 (ANI): Kaavan, an elephant which has spent 35 years at Islamabad's Marghazar zoo and had lost its partner some years ago, is being flown to Cambodia after a High Court ruling stated that conditions in this zoo were cruel.

According to the Prime Minister's aide on climate change Malik Amin Aslam, Pakistan's only Asiatic elephant is being sent to its permanent habitat in Cambodia to lead a cheerful life. The ministry has issued a permit for Kaavan to fly out of the country, reported Geo News.

Speaking to journalists, Aslam said that the animal is being taken to the Islamabad airport from the zoo, and that a special Russian jet has been arranged to transport the elephant.

Kaavan was brought to Pakistan as a young calf from Sri Lanka which had gifted him around 35 years ago. In 2012, he lost his partner Saheli when she died from a gangrenous infection. He was called the world's loneliest elephant.

Dr Amir Khalil, a veterinarian with Four Paws, an Austria-based animal welfare group spearheading the collaborative operation to transport the 5-ton elephant, said Kaavan was heartbroken after Saheli died, reported Geo News.

In May, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled that the animals kept in Marghazar Zoo were kept in cruel conditions and the zoo should be closed. In July, the court approved the plan to move Kaavan to Cambodia.

Kaavan was dubbed as the 'world's loneliest elephant' after his plight gained international attention. The unhappy elephant was also diagnosed as emotionally and physically unstable, while veterinarians have said that the elephant was malnourished.

The miserable condition of the elephant in Islamabad had created an uproar among animal rights groups in the country and other nations.

Commenting on the elephant's departure, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Senator Faisal Javed Khan said that the Pakistani people are embarrassed at not taking care of Kaavan.

According to Geo News, American singer Cher took up Kaavan's cause and has been vocal regarding his resettlement. She paid him a visit on Friday and thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for making his relocation possible.

An international animal rights organisation named Non-Human Rights Project (NhRP) had hailed the IHC for its decision regarding the rescue of the elephant.

"After issuing a decision celebrated around the world that "without any hesitation" affirmed the rights of elephants and other nonhuman animals, the Islamabad High Court in Pakistan continues to pay close attention to and express support for the NhRP's nonhuman rights cases, especially our litigation to FreeHappy from the Bronx Zoo to a sanctuary," read a blog-post by the organisation.

The NhRP is the only civil rights organisation in the US dedicated solely to securing rights for nonhuman animals, according to Geo News. (ANI)

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