Superstar Cher welcomed “the world's loneliest elephant” to Cambodia on Monday to begin a new life at a specialised sanctuary after the creature was rescued from grim conditions in the Islamabad zoo.
Transporting an adult elephant by plane is no small task, and has only been undertaken a handful of times.
Helpers packed the trunk of Kaavan — a 36-year-old bull elephant originally from Sri Lanka — with 200 kilos of food to snack on during the seven-hour flight, while a tube system was installed in his transport crate aboard a jumbo Russian cargo plane to handle up to 200 litres (58 gallons) of urine.
After Kaavan touched down, monks offered him fruit, chanted prayers and sprinkled holy water on his crate to bless him. For the last leg, he was loaded onto a truck for the three-hour journey to his new home, a wildlife sanctuary in Oddar Meanchey province which already hosts three female elephants.
“Cambodia is pleased to welcome Kaavan. No longer will he be 'the world's loneliest elephant',” deputy environment minister Neth Pheaktra said.
Header image: Officials of Four Paws International and wildlife rangers prepare to move Kaavan, Pakistan's only Asian elephant, into a crate prior to its transfer to a sanctuary in Cambodia, at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad on Nov 29. — AFP