Pakistan’s lonely elephant to be airlifted to Cambodia

Umera Riyaz

A farewell party was held for Kaavan, Pakistan’s only Asian elephant, at Islamabad Zoo on Monday as he will soon move to Cambodia to start a new life. The farewell party included Pakistani officials and some well-wishers. 

For years, pop star Cher and animal rights advocates have been campaigning to rescue the animal from a harsh state and no companion.

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Kaavan will be airlifted to an elephant sanctuary on Sunday, according to a report by Reuters.

On the special event, officials like Pakistan’s climate change minister gathered with balloons and signs that said “Farewell Kaavan, we will miss you”, while children posed for pictures.

Kaavan enjoys music. Amir Khalil a vet for Four Paws, an animal rescue organization used jazz musician Frank Sinatra songs to build a friendship with him.

Marion Lombard, a spokeswoman for Four Paws, said that it isn’t always easy to move wild animals, especially one weighing 4.8 tones. She also said that Kaavan was training and is ready to move. 

“We decided to organise an event to allow the people of Pakistan and the government to say goodbye to Kaavan, before his new life in Cambodia. So we want to wish him a happy retirement.”

Kaavan will be airlifted to Cambodia after two weeks of training with international experts. He will be treated with bananas to teach him how to withstand a 10-hour long flight.

Cher was to arrive at Islamabad this week to meet and see off the elephant, she had worked for years to rescue him. 

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