Elephant Chained Up For 35 Years Is Finally Broken Free

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Through the years, we have heard numerous stories about elephants rescued after being kept and abu..s..ed for decades. One of them is Kaavan, a male elephant spent his entire life living in the poorly maintained Maraghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan.

In May, the Islamabad High Court ordered the wildlife officials to consult with Sri Lanka where this Asian elephant came from, to find a ‘suitable sanctuary’ for him within 30 days.

The campaign to rescue him took five years, but finally, he is about to be released. According to the animal rights activists, he was badly mistreated. He was kept in chains and was already showing symptoms of mental illness. Kaavan has a companion in the past but it died in 2012.

Since then, people learned more about Kaavan. They got interested in him and he has gained worldwide attention which led to his rescue. People from all across the globe learned about the neglect and ab…that Kaavan experienced. Since the campaign to set him free was started, some celebrities supported this, including Cher. A petition to release him from the zoo garnered over 400,000 signatures.

Finally, a Pakistani court has approved Kaavans’ relocation on May 22. The court stated, “The pain and suffering of Kaavan must come to an end by relocating him to an appropriate elephant sanctuary, in or outside the country.” The court also criticized the zoo for failing to meet the needs of this animal for the last 35 years.

Then it was decided that Kaavan will be sent to Lek’s Sanctuary in Cambodia since Pakistan does not have a suitable place where the elephants can be released. Chief Justice Athar Minallah stated, “Neither is there adequate facilities nor resources to provide living conditions that would meet the behavioral, social and physiological needs of the animals.”

This court ruling also ordered that dozens of other animals in the zoo, including brown bears, lions, and birds, be relocated temporarily while the zoo is working to improve its standards. According to Kaavans’ lawyer, Awais Awan, this elephants’ case was different because Pakistan is the only country where there are no Asian elephants. During his interview with Al Jazeera, he said, “Any option would be better than the existing option.

Experts and the government should determine what’s best for him. ”

Free The Wild has been actively involved in the release of this elephant. Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne, the co-founder of the Free the Wild stated, “We are delighted by the news from Pakistan regarding the relocation and retirement of Kaavan, Pakistan’s last remaining Asian elephant… after 5 years of relentless effort by Free the Wild and Team Kaavan.”

In the past, zoo officials have denied that Kaavan was chained up. They kept insisting that the elephant only needed a new mate since his partner died in 2012. But activists found evidence that the poor elephant had insufficient shelter from the summer temperatures of Islamabad.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, Asian elephants can roam thousands of kilometers through the deep tropical and subtropical forests. And Kaavan only had 90 by 140-meter of pen space to more around. And this is only one fo the many occasions where the zoo failed to provide the needs of this elephant.

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