Victory: Kaavan the Elephant to be Moved to Sanctuary

Victory: Kaavan the Elephant to be Moved to Sanctuary

Kaavan, an Asian elephant who was held in a small enclosure for over 30 years, is finally going to be freed from his cramped enclosure. Now, thanks to everyone who advocated for his release, including our supporters and local groups, Kaavan is on his way to life in a sanctuary. 

36-year-old Kaavan, who was dubbed the “world’s loneliest elephant” by his supporters, has spent decades in a small enclosure at the Islamabad Zoo (also known as the Marghazar Zoo) in Islamabad, Pakistan. The inadequate conditions he was kept in took a toll on him physically and emotionally; he exhibited stereotypic behavior, including swaying his head from side to side. 

This summer, the Honourable Islamabad High Court issued a decision compelling the zoo to release Kaavan to a sanctuary along with 800 other animals. A medical checkup requested by the Islamabad Wildlife Management agency cleared Kaavan for transport this month, and plans are in the works for him to be sent to a sanctuary by Four Paws International, which will likely be in Cambodia.

Owais Awan, the lawyer on the case who achieved this important victory from the court, had this to say about the initiative: “During the course of proceedings, a group of concerned and passionate residents of Islamabad came together and started regularly inspecting the zoo and checking up on the captive animals. It was a community-led movement and the decision would not have been possible without their support and dedication of the local community of Islamabad.” 

This is a huge victory for Kaavan and everyone who was involved in making it happen. Hopefully Kaavan’s story will inspire other zoos holding solitary elephants (like the Bronx Zoo, Natural Bridge Zoo, and the Edmonton Valley Zoo) to send their elephants to sanctuaries where they can enjoy permanent retirement from public display.



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