The world’s loneliest elephant will be transferred to a wildlife sanctuary following decades of living in a tiny enclosure.
Kaavan the elephant is a gentle giant who has been dubbed the world’s loneliest elephant by his supporters due to his heartbreaking situation.
The elephant has reportedly been living in a tiny enclosure at Islamabad zoo in Pakistan where he had little space to move for long 35 years.
While Kaavan was living together with his elephant partner Saheli, things turned for the worse when she died in 2012.
Following Saheli’s death, Kaavan started suffering from behavioral issues caused by loneliness. After he had also become more aggressive towards his carers, the elephant was put on a short leash, meaning he had even less space to walk around than before.
As Martin Bauer of Four Paws, an international animal welfare organization, previously explained, Kaavan has been approved for transfer following a four-year-long campaign and a thorough medical examination.
As the medical examination of the elephant revealed, Kaavan shows signs of malnutrition despite being overweight. In addition, the poor elephant faces a series of physical health problems, including overgrown and cracked nails, caused by living in a tiny enclosure for years.
According to Bauer, Kaavan’s recovery will be long and hard especially because the elephant is also suffering from behavioral issues caused by loneliness.
“He also developed stereotypical behavior, which means he shakes his head back and forth for hours. This is mainly because he is simply bored,” Bauer explained.
Following a month after the examination, it has also been confirmed that the elderly elephant will be moved to Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary where he will be allowed to spend the rest of his life in the presence of better care and other rescue animals.
According to the reports, the rescuers are now working on preparing Kaavan for the long journey. As they explained, the elephant will have to walk into a transport container on his own. Once inside, he will be airlifted to Cambodia.
To make sure that the animal will suffer as little as possible during the transport, Kaavan will be accompanied by a team of vets and animal handlers.
“The team is very experienced and conditions for his recovery are very good. He will be able to form a group with other elephants and actually live in a vast area of his natural habitat,” Dr. Amir Khalil, the project development head at Four Paws International, said.
“Contact with other elephants will help him establish his position within his new family group and also gain more self-confidence.”
As Khalil added, “separating an elephant from his family and keeping him in solitude can have very negative effects on their mental health” because they are “social animals and in the wild live in groups.”
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