Cher Welcomes 'world's Loneliest Elephant' To New Home In Cambodia
Muhammad Irfan 2 months ago Mon 30th November 2020 | 06:30 PM
Siem Reap, Cambodia, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 30th Nov, 2020 ) :Superstar Cher welcomed "the world's loneliest elephant" to Cambodia Monday to begin a new life at a specialised sanctuary after the creature was rescued from grim conditions in a Pakistani zoo.
The plight of Kaavan -- a 36-year-old bull elephant at Islamabad's dilapidated zoo and originally from Sri Lanka -- sparked global uproar from animal rights groups, who launched a campaign to save him.
"I am so proud he is here," she told AFP, after greeting Kaavan through an opening at the base of the crate.
"He's going to be really happy here," said Cher, adding that she was hopeful his ordeal was over.
- Mammoth undertaking - Kaavan's much-anticipated journey was "uneventful", said Amir Khalil, a veterinarian from animal welfare group Four Paws, adding he behaved "like a frequent flyer".
"Kaavan was eating, was not stressed -- he was even a little bit sleeping, standing, leaning at the crate wall," he said.
Transporting an adult elephant by plane is no small task, and has only been undertaken a handful of times.
Helpers packed his trunk with 200 kilos (450 Pounds) of food to snack on during the seven-hour flight, while a tube system was installed in his transport crate aboard a jumbo Russian cargo plane to handle up to 200 litres of urine.
After Kaavan touched down, monks offered him fruit, chanted prayers and sprinkled holy water on his crate to bless him.
He was then loaded onto a truck for the journey to Oddar Meanchey province where a wildlife sanctuary that houses other elephants will be his new home.
"We expect to breed Kaavan with local elephants -- this is an effort to conserve the genetic fold," the minister told AFP.
- Years of campaigning - Kaavan's journey is the culmination of years of campaigning from animal rights groups, who say the animal's behaviour in captivity demonstrated "a kind of mental illness" likely due to the zoo's woeful conditions.
Upon hearing about Kaavan's freedom, Cher had tweeted that the decision marked "one of the greatest moments" of her life.
A team of vets and experts from Austria-based Four Paws has spent months working with Kaavan to get him ready for the trip -- a complicated process due to his size and the amount of food needed en route.
The elephant also had to be taught to enter the four-tonne metal crate that was then secured in the belly of a mammoth Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane for the journey.