WORLD 'World's loneliest elephant' arrives in Cambodia for retirement

WORLD

'World's loneliest elephant' arrives in Cambodia for retirement

Xinhua

21:53, November 30, 2020

Dr. Amir Khalil, center, a veterinarian from Four Paws an international animal welfare organization, feeds an elephant named Kaavan loaded in a crate before he is transported to a sanctuary in Cambodia, at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Photo: AP)

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- A lonely Asian elephant from Pakistan arrived in Cambodia by a chartered cargo plane Monday afternoon after spending nearly 35 years in an Islamabad zoo, Cambodian Ministry of Environment secretary of state and spokesman Neth Pheaktra said.

Pheaktra said Kaavan, the 35-year-old bull elephant, had been transported to the Kulen Prum Tep wildlife sanctuary in Northern Cambodia's Oddor Meanchey province soon after his arrival at the Siem Reap international airport in Northwest Siem Reap province.

"Cambodia is pleased to welcome Kaavan," he told reporters. "He will no longer be the world's loneliest elephant."

Pheaktra, who greeted the elephant's arrival at the airport, said once Kaavan feels at home in a controlled setting, he will be released into the sanctuary.

"Kaavan will spend the rest of his life in the natural habitat under the care of the Ministry of Environment and the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS)," the spokesman said.

Veterinarians from the international animal welfare organization Four Paws inject medicine to an elephant named Kaavan before transporting him to a sanctuary in Cambodia, at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Photo: AP)

Pakistan allowed Kaavan to be relocated to Cambodia after it has been kept in an Islamabad zoo for nearly 35 years.

In May, the Islamabad High Court ruled that Kaavan should be sent to a Cambodian wildlife sanctuary to enjoy his rest life.

Asian elephants are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

According to Pheaktra, the number of Asian elephants in Cambodia is estimated at between 400 and 600 heads, mostly in the Cardamom Mountains and in the Northern provinces of Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri.

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