An elephant that has been isolated and chained up in a small enclosure for most of its life is finally moving to a sanctuary where he will recover and live with new friends.
Bull elephant Kaavan has spent his 35 years of life in ‘mental torment’ at Maraghzar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan, and has been completely alone for the last eight years since his companion Saheli died.
They had shared an enclosure since 1990 and Kaavan was even made to stay with Saheli’s corpse in his pen before keepers took her body away.
After a lengthy court battle Kaavan is now set to be moved to Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary next month where he will be cared for and placed among other elephants to socialise with, the Mirror reported.
It emerged that Kaavan was reportedly tied up at all times and 401,965 people, including superstar Cher, signed a petition for him to be taken somewhere else where he would be better cared for.
At the zoo, he lived in a 90m by 140m pen with little shelter from the sun that gets to 40C in Islamabad. Four years ago the zoo insisted the elephant was only chained when he had violent outbursts.
Kaavan’s promised mate never arrived and the bull was left lonely with disturbing reports that the zoo beat him when he got aggressive.
Vice chairman of Pakistan Wildlife Foundation Safwan Shahab Ahmad said Kaavan’s behaviour of swaying and bobbing his head showed that he was suffering from ‘a kind of mental illness’.
Even the elephant’s keeper Mohammad Jalal said he had ‘hardly seen’ Kaavan happy.
Last month Dr Amir Khalil, from the charity Four Paws, reported that Kaavan’s toenails were ‘in very bad condition’ because of no exercise, an inappropriate diet, no ‘proper foot care or appropriate flooring’.
The doctor also mentioned Kaavan’s ‘poor’ mental state including his aggressive behaviour towards humans because of the ‘lack of any mental enrichment and contact with other elephants as well as humans’.
Dr Khalil stressed the ‘very negative effects’ on elephants’ mental health when they are separated from their friends and families because they usually live in groups in the wild and are one of the ‘the most intelligent species on earth’.
Dr Khalil has been working with Kaavan with the last month and already reports an improvement. He hopes the elephant will ‘form a group with other elephants’ and live in ‘his natural habitat’.
A court ordered that Kaavan be moved to an elephant sanctuary earlier this year and then specified Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary in July.
Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary has already started working on getting the crate Kaavan will travel in to the zoo so he can get used to it in advance of his epic trip.
The elephant will have to enter the crate on his own before it is moved out of the zoo and transported on one of the limited number of planes that are able to transport such big animals. Kaavan will not be sedated and will be accompanied by experienced handlers and vets.
In response to Kaavan successfully winning a new home Cher said: ‘This is one of the greatest moments of my life.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]
For more stories like this, check our news page.
Source: Read Full Article