25th November 2020 – On Sunday 29th November global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS will bring the world’s loneliest elephant from Pakistan to his new home at Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary in the Siem Reap Province. Ahead of this, FOUR PAWS invited Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi and the First Lady to officially bid the elephant farewell on 24th November. Kaavan was given as a gift to Pakistan by Sri Lanka 35 years ago when he was just one year old. Earlier this year orders from Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted FOUR PAWS, the permission for the removal of Kaavan from Marghazar zoo as a result of improper care. Integral part of this rescue mission is NGO Free The Wild whose co-founder Cher has made the release of Kaavan a global issue.
Speaking on the occasion, President Alvi said the outstanding judgment passed by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah was in line with the local traditions of caring for animals and keeping them in an environment best suited to them. The President expressed confidence that Kaavan would find happiness in Cambodia after being surrounded by his companion elephants. President Alvi appreciated the efforts of Ministry of Climate Change and Islamabad Wildlife Management Board in effective implementation of IHC’s order on relocation of Kaavan. He stressed the need for raising awareness among masses about animal rights and environmental care. The President called for implementation of Pakistan Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) that provided a good basis for the protection of animals.
FOUR PAWS veterinarian and mission leader Dr Amir Khalil showed the President and First Lady the training crate that has been made for Kaavan to prepare him for the container that will be used for the relocation to Cambodia.
“There Kaavan will have a more species appropriate space in which to roam and he will also importantly have three companions with which he can form a herd. We thank the Pakistani community as well authorities for their support over the last months,”
say Dr Khalil. FOUR PAWS will manage Kaavan’s transfer together with NGO Free The Wild.
The challenging rescue operation is also financially supported by a substantial donation from the US journalist, businessman, and animal conservationist, Eric Margolis.
Minister for Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, State Minister Zartaj Gul and Austrian ambassador Nicolaus Keller were also present when Pakistan’s president bid farewell.