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Islamabad: Kaavan elephant to leave for Cambodia on Nov 29

ISLAMABAD: Kaavan elephant of Marghazar Zoo will leave in a chartered flight to its new home in Cambodia on November 29, citing a wildlife official ARY News reported on Wednesday.

The preparations have been completed for relocation of Kaavan, Pakistan’s only Asian elephant, kept confined at Islamabad’s Marghazar Zoo for over three decades.

A cargo aircraft has been chartered for a special flight to shift Kaavan to its natural habitat in a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia, officials said.

Chairman Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) Dr Anisur Rehman has said that the donors have arranged funds for hiring the special flight for shifting the elephant to Combodia, adding that the state funds not being spent over it.

Kaavan was brought in Pakistan back in 1985 as a gift from Sri Lanka when he was one-year-old, whose inappropriate living conditions in Marghazar Zoo had irked onlookers as he remained chained and that, too, in a tiny enclosure.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on environment Malik Amin Aslam said Monday that Kaavan elephant of Marghazar Zoo is being sent to Cambodia after 35 years in Pakistan.

He said Kaavan will be sent to elephants’ permanent habitat in Cambodia by Nov 29 where he will lead his life cheerfully.

Back in May this year, the Islamabad High Court decreed relocation of Kaavan since he was treated cruelly by the authorities concerned.

Kaavan will be airlifted to Cambodia after training for weeks with international specialists armed with treats such as bananas to get him used to the small enclosure and loud noises of the 10-hour flight.

Kaavan’s plight was given a boost over the years by American pop icon Cher, who publicly campaigned for the elephant’s relocation. Cher was due to arrive in Islamabad later in the week to finally meet the elephant she had worked for years to rescue and see him off.

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