Islamabad: World's most loneliest elephant, Kaavan is all set to start a new life after decades of neglect. Kaavan lived under horrendous conditions in a zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Kaavan was brought to Pakistan when then-military ruler Gen Ziaul Haq's daughter Zain Zia fell in love with animals after watching the Bollywood film 'Haathi Mere Sathi.' However, Kaavan was kept in a zoo in Islamabad. Prior to that, Kaavan was kept at Sri Lanka's Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (PEO).
Kaavan was gifted by the Sri Lankan government to Gen Haq's government for their help during an insurgency.
Kaavan was at the Marghuzar Zoo, Islamabad. Sadly, the authorities of the zoo did not care about what happened to the animals or the zoo. They started finding various ways of making money through the zoo, for example, allowing their family members to run food stalls inside the zoo.
The zoo did not have any veterinary clinic or medicines supply.
Kaavan, however, was the star of the zoo. He had to entertain the crowd during the opening hours of the zoo.
Kaavan had a friend, Saheli an elephant brought from Bangladesh. Elephants are cognitively sophisticated like humans. They have similar emotions, like having strong family bonds.
However, Saheli died in 2012. Kaavan, who was already sad about his natural environment, felt worse. His mahout did not let anyone come near him.
American actress and singer, Cher who has helped Kaavan to have a new life, learnt about him in 2016. Co-founder of Free the Wild, Cher hired a legal team to press for the elephant's freedom.
The court ordered freeing of Kaavan in May. All these months, Cher has updated about Kaavamn's progress through her Twitter account.
In June, the order came to close the zoo. However, Kaavan's fate remained uncertain.
Four Paws International was invited to Pakistan to decide on a new plan for Kaavan. In the end, it was decided to fly Kaavan across Asia to Cambodia, where he could live out the rest of his years in a "protected contact" sanctuary. The only problem was to assess Kaavan, who was an angry elephant.
Dr Amir Khalil of Four Paws International found a solution. Dr Khalil started singing for Kaavan. To his surprise, Kaavan showed interest in his voice. Soon, it was noticed that Kaavan became friendly with Dr Khalil.
Today, 35-years-old Kaavan is all set to start his journey towards a new life.