Kaavan, the 35-year-old elephant, received a warm farewell on Monday. Officials and well-wishers attended the small gathering at Islamabad Zoo, bidding goodbye to him as he leaves Pakistan for good, this week. The federal government on Monday issued a permit to transfer the country’s only Asian elephant to Cambodia, where he will be looked after in a well-reputed sanctuary. Taking to the micro-blogging site Twitter, Senator PTI Faisal Javed Khan wrote, “Sorry & Farewell to Kaavan! As our dearest (from childhood) is off to Cambodia. Previous govts didn’t pay any attention in making sanctuaries or national parks and we are sorry for the way we treated Kavaan.”
Sorry & Farewell to Kaavan! As our dearest (from childhood) is off to Cambodia. Prev Govts didn't pay any attention in making sanctuaries or national parks & we are sorry the way we treated Kavaan. Our Govt straight away kicked off the work on establishing 15 new nat parks to…
— Faisal Javed Khan (@FaisalJavedKhan) November 23, 2020
He added, “Our Govt straight away kicked off the work on establishing 15 new national parks to preserve the ecological habitats & wildlife while focusing on eco-tourism and nature conservation. Kavaan – we all remember from our childhood will surely be missing Saheli who remained his partner here from 1990 to 2002 (until her death) Kavaan will join his new friends in Cambodia.” To mark Kavaan’s departure, officials including lawmakers, the climate change minister and Faisal himself, gathered among balloons and signs, which read, “Farewell Kaavan, we will miss you.”
Kaavan has been at the Islamabad Zoo for 35 years and the Islamabad High Court (IHC) decided to transfer Kaavan to Cambodia earlier this year, where he will be housed in a famous elephant sanctuary. Earlier, a team of international vets using tranquilliser darts, flatbreads and the soothing lyrics of Frank Sinatra conducted a medical examination on Kaavan, ahead of his planned move to Cambodia. Outrage over Kaavan, gifted by Sri Lanka in 1985, went global a few years ago after California-based vet Samar Khan found him chained in his enclosure during a visit to Islamabad. She immediately started an online petition that eventually caught the eye of American pop icon Cher and several animal rights advocates world over.