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The elephant who will be free after spending almost his entire life in chains

Kavan – who has been considered “the depressed elephant” for having lived part of his 35 years alone and isolated – will leave the zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan, after a court in May ruled that the animal should be moved to a sanctuary.

These details of the history of Kaavan and its most recent outcome have been documented for years by various media in that Middle Eastern country and by Four Paws, an international animal rescue organization.

And it is that the Pakistani capital had become his home after, being still a child, Sri Lanka, a country south of India, gifted it to Pakistan in 1985 as a diplomatic gift.

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Already in Pakistan, Kaavan reached adulthood in very poor conditions and with only one consolation: the company of Saheli, an elephant who was with him from 1990 until his death, from gangrene, in 2012.

Because elephants are social animals, Saheli’s death worsened the Kaavan’s quality of life. The animal ended up being chained for three years. A move that made him depressed.

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As it became known at the time, the outrage caused by the chain made, in 2015, the zoo will let you roam its enclosure, which, however, was never particularly extensive.

Kaavan has been completely isolated from another member of his species for eight years.

The Liberation

Although the release of Kaavan had been requested since 2016, this is also part of the controversy over animal abuse that shook the entire Islamabad zoo in May and led several animalists to protest against the management of the place.

As a result, in early September the Islamabad High Court ordered the closure of the establishment and the transfer of several of the animals exhibited there, including Kaavan.

Several international media have called Kaavan the ‘last elephant of Pakistan’ because that country does not have that species as endemic

However, as reported by Four Paws, since May two lions, six lion cubs and several ostriches died who could not withstand the lengthy process that is often required to relocate an animal.

In fact, only until Friday, September 4, Kaavan underwent a routine procedure by Four Paws veterinarians to determine his health. It was learned that he suffers from obesity and has leg problems due to weight.

(You may be interested: World Elephant Day on August 12: cruel practices continue in Asia).

Despite this, Amir Khalil, one of the veterinarians who examined the pachyderm, said that “in general, the results of his blood samples are good … and allow him to be transferred.”

Kaavan Elephant

The Four Paws organization will coordinate the transfer of Kaavan that was possible thanks to the help of animal supporters around the world and even the singer Cher, who sponsored the cause.

That is why, according to ‘El País’, from Spain, the next step for this Asian elephant to start his new life is to build a box of his size that he will have to get used to. When you do, you will be able to arrive at your new and definitive home: a natural sanctuary located in Cambodia (country of Asia).

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There, he can live what remains of his life. But his years in freedom are expected to be shorter than those he spent in chains in Pakistan. This is because the life expectancy of Asian elephants is 50 years, according to the Smithsonian National Zoo.

And Kaavan is almost 40 now.