An overweight elephant, Kaavan, dubbed as the world’s loneliest arrived in Cambodia after being rescued from a life of misery in a Pakistani zoo.
Kaavan spent 35 years in a barren, substandard zoo enclosure, living in isolation after his mate died in 2012.
In Cambodia he will live in a wildlife sanctuary and roam in open space with a large herd of other elephants.
He was welcomed by pop star Cher, who paid for a legal team to fight for his release.
“I’m so happy and I am so proud he is here,” Cher told AFP news agency.
“He’s a wonderful, wonderful animal.”
He travelled to Cambodia on a flight and according to his doctors, Kaavan behaved “like a frequent flyer” on the journey from Pakistan.
He said the elephant had not been stressed and had eaten and slept a little during the flight.
Cambodian deputy environment minister Neth Pheaktra said the country was “pleased to welcome Kaavan”.
“No longer will he be the world’s loneliest elephant. We expect to breed Kaavan with local elephants. This is an effort to conserve the genetic fold,” the minister told AFP.
Kaavan, dubbed as the world's loneliest arrived in Cambodia after being rescued from a life of misery in a Pakistani zoopic.twitter.com/CazxTBo113
— www.THEPIGEONEXPRESS.com (@TPE_connect) December 1, 2020
Before embarking on the last leg of the journey to the sanctuary, Buddhist monks gave Kaavan bananas and watermelon. They chanted prayers and sprinkled holy water on his crate to bless him.
Kaavan’s release follows years of campaigning by activists from animal welfare group Four Paws International (FPI) and from Cher, who co-founded Free the Wild, a wildlife protection charity.