Kaavan the elephant serenaded one last time at farewell party

Published November 24, 2020
Kaavan, an elephant waiting to be transported to a sanctuary in Cambodia, is seen during a farewell ceremony at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, November 23. — Reuters
Kaavan, an elephant waiting to be transported to a sanctuary in Cambodia, is seen during a farewell ceremony at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, November 23. — Reuters
Kaavan the elephant is seen during a farewell ceremony at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, November 23. — Reuters
Kaavan the elephant is seen during a farewell ceremony at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, November 23. — Reuters

Officials and well-wishers gathered at Islamabad Zoo on Monday for a farewell party for lonely elephant Kaavan before he sets off for a new life in Cambodia this week.

After years of campaigning by animal rights advocates and pop star Cher to rescue him from grim conditions with no companion, Kaavan was finally set to be airlifted to an elephant sanctuary on Sunday.

To mark the occasion, officials, including lawmakers and the climate change minister, gathered among balloons and signs saying “Farewell Kaavan, we will miss you.”

Children posed for photos and musicians performed in front of the enclosure, with Kaavan at one point serenaded while he snacked on some grass.

Kaavan is known to be a fan of music and Amir Khalil, a vet from animal rescue organisation Four Paws, bonded with the elephant, who has been aggressive to humans in the past, by singing him Frank Sinatra songs.

Four Paws spokeswoman Marion Lombard said that though it was never easy to move a wild animal weighing 4.8 tonnes, Kaavan was responding well to training and was ready to leave.

“We decided to organise an event to give the opportunity to the people of Pakistan and the government to say goodbye to Kaavan, before his new life in Cambodia. So we want to wish him a happy retirement,” she said.

Kaavan will be airlifted to Cambodia after training for weeks with international specialists armed with treats such as bananas to get him used to the small enclosure and loud noises of the 10-hour flight.

Cher was due to arrive in Islamabad later in the week to finally meet the elephant she had worked for years to rescue and see him off.

Opinion

Editorial

Another U-turn?
Updated 07 Oct, 2022

Another U-turn?

The PTI’s decision to take back its resignations could herald a twist in the tussle playing out in Islamabad.
Renewed TTP threat
07 Oct, 2022

Renewed TTP threat

THE interior ministry’s call for ‘extreme vigilance’ and instructions to security forces to conduct ‘search...
Women’s gala in GB
07 Oct, 2022

Women’s gala in GB

REGRESSIVE forces, once again, nearly had their way — this time in Gilgit-Baltistan. A three-day sporting gala for...
‘Draconian’ law
06 Oct, 2022

‘Draconian’ law

THE debate over what it means to be ‘sadiq’ and ‘ameen’ has reignited after the incumbent Supreme Court ...
Welcome clarity
Updated 06 Oct, 2022

Welcome clarity

There needs to be consensus amongst all political actors that matters of governance should be the exclusive domain of civilians.
Car purchases
06 Oct, 2022

Car purchases

IF we are in the market to buy a new car, we end up paying a significantly large amount as premium over the sticker...