End of Loneliness: Elephant Chained for 35 Years Finds New Home and Companions

For over three and a half decades, an elephant has lived in a cramped enclosure at a zoo in Pakistan.

But now, a heartwarming transformation is on the horizon, as Kaavan, often dubbed the ‘world’s loneliest elephant,’ is set to embark on a new chapter in Cambodia, surrounded by friends.

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Once a part of a pair alongside his partner Saheli, Kaavan’s world turned desolate after her passing in 2012.


His isolation led to increasing aggression, leading to him being shackled with a short leash.

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This distressing situation prompted the involvement of animal activists, including the renowned singer Cher, who campaigned for his relocation.

Today, the good news is that Kaavan is slated for a move to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, where he will finally receive the love, care, and companionship he deserves.


In September, Kaavan, the elephant at the heart of a widely publicized animal rights campaign, received care from veterinarians and local wildlife officials from Four Paws International in Islamabad. This effort aimed to prepare him for the journey to his new sanctuary in Cambodia.

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Last September, Amir Khalil, heading the project development at FOUR PAWS International, and Frank Goeritz, the veterinary service lead at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, were captured taking measurements of Kaavan at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan.

During the same month, veterinarians from the animal welfare group ‘Four Paws’ conducted a thorough examination of Kaavan, who resided at the Maragzar Zoo in Islamabad. The evaluation revealed numerous health issues stemming from his prolonged isolation.


Dr. Amir Khalil from the charity disclosed that Kaavan’s toenails were deplorable due to inadequate foot care and an improper diet.

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The elephant also displayed severe stereotypical behavior and aggression towards humans due to a lack of mental stimulation and interaction with other elephants. The keepers were providing food just once a day without any meaningful contact.

Kaavan also grappled with being overweight and confined to a small, sun-exposed pen, which led to constant head bobbing and swaying.


According to Safwan Shahab Ahmad, vice chairman of the Pakistan Wildlife Foundation, this behavior was indicative of a form of mental illness.

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In September, Kaavan, the elephant at Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan, underwent a blood test.

Following the procedure, veterinarians administered an anti-wound spray to facilitate proper healing.


During the same month, Kaavan, a resident of Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan, was sedated by Amir Khalil, the head of project development at FOUR PAWS International.

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In September, a veterinarian from the animal welfare organization ‘Four Paws’ provided comfort to an elephant named ‘Kaavan’ before his examination at Maragzar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Despite being under the care of keeper Mohammad Jalal, Kaavan’s rare moments of happiness were observed.


Due to the zoo’s deteriorating conditions, attributed to negligence, it was ordered to be shut down, and Kaavan was scheduled for transfer to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary in July.

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He needed to learn to enter a transport container independently due to his weight before the journey.

Experienced handlers and veterinarians will ensure Kaavan’s comfort during the transportation. Dr. Khalil holds high hopes for Kaavan’s new life.


In September, a team of veterinarians from the international animal welfare organization “Four Paws” conducted a press briefing before examining an elephant named Kaavan at Margazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The team expressed optimism about his recovery, emphasizing the favorable conditions for forming a new family group and living in a vast, natural habitat area.

They underscored the importance of social interaction for elephants, emphasizing that they thrive in social groups.


Dr. Khalil emphasized the severe adverse effects on an elephant’s mental health when separated from its family and kept in isolation. Elephants are recognized as one of the most intelligent species on Earth.

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