A small farewell party was organised for him on Monday
Kaavan, Pakistan’s only Asiatic elephant, will fly to Cambodia on November 29 at 11am, said Federal Climate Change Minister Malik Amin Aslam on Monday.
The minister was attending Kaavan’s farewell party at an Islamabad zoo.
“Sri Lanka had gifted Kaavan to Pakistan 35 years ago,” he said. Another elephant had come with him but she died years ago. The international media raised awareness about Kaavan’s condition.
In May, the Islamabad High Court ordered that all animals at the zoo should be moved to sanctuaries. Following the ruling, Austria-based animal welfare and rescue group Four Paws International were enlisted to help move Kaavan to a sanctuary in Cambodia.
A transport crate has been built and the elephant is currently being habituated to it before being flown to a 25,000-acre Cambodian wildlife sanctuary in a jet.
Kaavan is a 36-year-old extinct-breed Asiatic elephant that the Sri Lankan government gifted to Pakistan in 1985. The animal is being kept at Islamabad’s Marghazar Zoo where he has been alone in his enclosure since 2012 when his female companion, Saheli, died at 22.
An online petition garnered over 200,000 signatures after it emerged he was being chained, suffering from mental illnesses, and will have a bleak future without a better habitat even if a new mate arrives.
On May 22, Chief Justice Athar Minallah ordered wildlife officials to consult with Sri Lanka to find Kaavan a “suitable sanctuary”.
He also ordered that the 878 other animals held at Islamabad’s zoo be relocated.