He only knew the huts, the beatings, and the suffering. Now the world’s loneliest elephant has found a home

Slon Kaavan ve svém novém domově

It is difficult to say how Kavan’s life story would have unfolded without a successful Bollywood film and a little girl craze. The truth is that after seeing Hathi Mere Saathi (Hathi Mere friend), Zain Zia, the daughter of the then ruler of Pakistan, fell in love with elephants.

“I looked in heaven and prayed,” Dear God, give me an elephant to be your friend, “Zain recently admitted. BBC News Server.

His prayers were unanswered. “One day my father told me that he was a surprise to me. He removed the tape from my eyes – and a small elephant stood in front of me. I wanted us to keep him at home, but my father told me that he belonged to the government and he had to go to the zoo. And I agreed with him, “said Zayn.

The little elephant was Kavan, who came from the Sri Lankan elephant orphanage Pinawal. It is not certain whether he was in fact an orphan, but this proves to the contrary that in 1985 the elephant actually ended up in a zoo.

From its beginnings, the Margaret Zoo has been linked separately to various crowd groups. It is no surprise that the local authorities did not care much about what was happening to the animals kept there. Some of them, particularly deer antelope, were secretly transported to a barbecue party of influential personalities from the region.

This was not surprising when a group of volunteers called Friends of Islamabad Zoo (FIZ) focused on what is happening at the zoo. He found that the number of regularly farmed animals fluctuated. However, as FIZ drew attention to this change, new animals appeared in the enclosures. What’s more, this was not the only problem.

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Mohammed bin Naved, a member of the group, told the BBC, “There were no veterinary surgeries or medicine supplies at the zoo. There was no room for immediate surgery or separation of a sick animal.” FIZ.

And it was under such circumstances that the main star of the zoo was Kavan.

Zoo’s main star

The atmosphere at Kavan consisted of a small paddock, about the size of half a football field, which lived in a hut with concrete floors. According to a later report by the Organization for the Protection of Animals, the elephant had “no trees, trunks, bushes, stones, tires or other structures or any bedding.”

Eventually, according to the zoo, they didn’t even need to. Kavan’s main task was to erect a fence so that tourists visiting the zoo could see it at any time. It was to his amusement that he picked up all kinds of objects – when the nurse saw him standing with a bull hook.

However, earlier, at least Kavan was not alone. His companions were Saheli elephants, who were brought from Bangladesh in the early 1990s. However, she died in 2012. According to the zoo, he suffered a heart attack, but the truth is very sad. Mohammed bin Naveed warned, “At some point, the unrestricted hook went too deep into the flesh. The elephant got gangrene and died of septic shock. Everyone knows, but they don’t accept it.”

Lone elephant

Zoochoza An improperly equipped zoo is a psychosis caused by living in inappropriate conditions. Typical manifestations of this are, for example, swaying, excessive front and back, self-harm or stool consumption.

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At the time of Sahel’s death, Kavan was for many years with a reputation for a dangerous and aggressive animal, which was rapidly chained. With the death of his long-time companion, the whole situation escalated so much that no one was allowed to approach the elephant. It is no surprise, that when volunteers from Four Paws International (FPI) arrived at the zoo in 2016, they found an aggressive animal that was infested with the zoo.

“He showed less physical activity, advanced stage of a conservative behavior (he kept shaking his head) and was totally indifferent to humans except begging for food,” FPI said, noting that The physical condition of the elephant was quite poor. For example, in addition to conjunctivitis, he was a worrying overweight, a result of a diet high in sugar.

There was no doubt that Kavan was seriously ill. However, the zoo did not want to lose its star – and an even bigger star was needed to change the situation, the BBC insisted.

It was star Oscar-winning actress and singer Cher, who first learned of Kavan’s fate in 2016. The co-founder of the wildlife organization Free the Wild later hired a legal team to free him. Cher called May’s victory in court “one of the best moments of her life”, but Kavan still had not won.

The battle for the fate of animals from the Marghazar Zoo in the Supreme Court of Pakistan soon continued. Although it was decided to close the zoo in June, Kavan’s fate remained uncertain. Pakistan has long refused to take him abroad.

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However, as Uzma Khan of the Global Wide Fund for Nature pointed out in a recent TV interview, the country had very few options. Other Pakistani zoos also have problems with poor animal care, and none of them are members of the World Association of Zoo and the Aquarium.

Travel to a new home

So Plan B was born: to take Kawan to Cambodia, where he could spend the last year of his life. While the plan also faced some difficulties – especially elephant overweight and aggression, which made transportation demands already difficult – it was ultimately successful. This is also thanks to FPI chief, Amir Khalil, who – as he recalls today – spent many “boring” hours with the elephant during the preparations for the entire event.

“So I started singing. And after a while I noticed that Elephant got interested in me singing. Till then, nobody liked to listen to him, so I was feeling shy, but suddenly I got a big fan Gaya. I was happy, so I started singing them regularly, “Khalil told the BBC once the aggressive elephant had found its way.

Shortly afterwards, Kavan voluntarily trapped his new friend in a crate that was adapted for eight hours of aerial transport of a five-and-a-half-ton animal to Cambodia’s elite-prometap Nature Reserve. “Kwan still faces many challenges, such as adapting to the natural environment. But he finally has the chance to be an elephant and live in a place he can stay at home,” Khalil concluded.


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