For 35 years an elephant named Kaavan has lived in a dilapidated zoo in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. With protests from animal rights activists and celebrities in the industry who campaigned for the animal's freedom, things finally started to look up after years.
On Friday, the 4th of September, an animal group 'Four Paws International' examined the elephant with great care and gave him the greenlight for travelling to an elephant sanctuary to live out his days in freedom, most likely in Cambodia.
Due to constant protests and advocacy from public figures both local and international, Islamabad's Marghazar Zoo was ordered to shut down in May, after a ruling passed by the Pakistan High Court. This closure comes as conditions in the zoo and the neglect animal's suffer render it unsuitable and intolerable to continue running in such a state. The terrible circumstances at the zoo have already resulted in two lions passing away as the handlers set fire to their enclosure in order to get them to move out. Additionally, Kaavan has his own set of health problems, ranging from being malnourished, overweight and depressed due to being kept isolated from other elephants as well since his partner, Saheli, died in 2012.
“Due to malnutrition and lack of physical exercise, Kaavan shows visible signs of obesity. Also, his nails are cracked and malformed which can be attributed to the inappropriate flooring and structure of his enclosure. To solve this issue, he needs to go through a long-term foot care program, which cannot be performed in Marghazar Zoo” said Dr. Amir Khalil, Four Paws veterinarian and mission leader.
Amir Khalil has also revealed an adorable insight, sharing how Kaavan is actually quite the Sinatra fan, his favourite song being 'My Way' by the Legend of Soul. Sinatra's symphonies have a calming affect on the elephant, who enjoys when the music plays in the background or when Dr. Khalil sings to him!
With Four Paws International taking on Kaavan's case as well checking up on the other animal residents at Marghazar Zoo, who have yet to be transported to live better lives. A sense of relief is felt now that it has been determined that Kaavan can start a positive chapter of his life!