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‘World’s loneliest elephant’ arrives in Cambodia after help from Cher

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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Kaavan, dubbed the “world’s loneliest elephant” after languishing alone for years in a Pakistani zoo, was greeted on his arrival in Cambodia on Monday by chanting Buddhist monks and was then despatched on his strategy to a wildlife sanctuary.

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Like different vacationers throughout these occasions, the elephant wanted to be examined for Covid-19 earlier than his flight. As soon as his massive metallic crate was safely on board, Kaavan was supplied with in-flight snacks — 440 kilos of them — for the seven-hour journey.

Kaavan was not careworn in the course of the flight, consuming his meals and even getting a bit of little bit of sleep standing in his crate, mentioned Amir Khalil, a veterinarian who accompanied him on the flight and works with 4 Paws, the Vienna-headquartered animal rescue group that organized the transfer.

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“He behaves like a frequent flier. The flight was uneventful, which is all you’ll be able to ask for if you switch an elephant,” Khalil mentioned.

The 36-year-old, 9,000-pound elephant acquired a heat welcome on arrival in Cambodia from officers, conservationists and the Buddhist monks, who chanted prayers for his concord and prosperity.

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Kaavan, a 1985 reward from Sri Lanka to Pakistan, had been dwelling within the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad along with his associate Saheli, who died in 2012. The zoo fell on arduous occasions and circumstances received so dangerous {that a} courtroom within the Pakistani capital ordered the zoo closed in August.

The plight of the male Asian elephant has captured worldwide consideration, together with from the American singer and actor Cher, who has been intently concerned in his rescue and was in Cambodia for Kaavan’s arrival.

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Cher’s animal welfare group Free the Wild has labored with 4 Paws and the American syndicated columnist and philanthropist, Eric Margolis, to relocate Kaavan — a mission that’s price about $400,000.

Based on 4 Paws, only a few grownup elephants have ever been relocated by aircraft, so preparations had been arduous.

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Amir Khalil, head of venture improvement at 4 Paws, with Kaavan on the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan in September.Saiyna Bashir / Reuters

Veterinarians and elephant consultants working for 4 Paws spent three months in Islamabad, teaching Kaavan thrice a day on enter and exit safely and with out stress his four-ton journey crate, which features a system that may maintain as much as 53 gallons of urine.

He was additionally dangerously obese as a consequence of his unsuitable weight-reduction plan of round 550 kilos of sugar cane every day. With Khalil’s assist, Kaavan misplaced 1,000 kilos over the previous three months.

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Kaavan’s wounds are emotional in addition to bodily. He would spend his days throwing his head backward and forward, a stereotypical signal of boredom and distress in an elephant, mentioned Martin Bauer, a spokesman for 4 Paws.

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The lack of his mate Saheli took a toll on Kaavan’s psychological well being. Elephants are social animals that thrive on the corporate of different elephants, Bauer defined.

Late Monday, Kaaven was being pushed by truck to a camp in northern Cambodia the place he ought to be capable to go away his crate on Tuesday.

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