An elephant who has become a cause celebre for animal rights activists around the world will be allowed to leave his Pakistani zoo and transferred to better conditions, the animal welfare group helping with the case said Saturday.
Dubbed the ‘world’s loneliest elephant’ by his supporters, Kaavan has languished at a zoo in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad for more than 35 years.
Martin Bauer, a spokesman for Four Paws, said the elephant has been finally given medical approval to travel, most likely to Cambodia, where he will find companionship and better conditions.
The overweight elephant Kaavan underwent a full medical examination at the zoo on Friday, said Bauer.
In May, Pakistan’s High Court ordered the Marghazar Zoo closed because of its abysmal conditions blamed on systemic negligence.
Rescuing Kaavan from the zoo’s dire conditions attracted the attention of animal activists around the world, and celebrities including U.S. singer Cher, who lobbied for his relocation.
His recovery will be a long one, said Bauer, adding that Kaavan’s wounds are more than just physical. He also suffers behavioral issues.
Kaavan, who lost his partner in 2012, has battled loneliness as well as poor living conditions. Both have taken their toll, said Bauer in an interview.
“He also developed stereotypical behavior, which means he shakes his head back and forth for hours. This is mainly because he is simply bored,” said Bauer.