‘World’s loneliest elephant’ kept in chains for 35 years finally given new home

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Kaavan the elephant has lived a life of 'mental torment' and has known nothing but chains for the past 35 years.

And to make matters worse the bull elephant has been totally alone since his companion, Saheli, died in 2012.

The two elephants shared an enclosure since 1990, but eight years ago Kaavan was left all alone.

After reports revealed Kaavan, who lives at Maraghazar Zoo in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, was tied up at all times, a petition was created.

Hundreds of thousands of people signed their named for him to given a new home where he would have a better life, writes the Mirror Online.

Some of the biggest celebrities on the planet signed the petition, including Cher, who were horrified at what was happening to Kaavan.

Zoo bosses insisted four years ago that the elephant was no longer chained, but his long-awaited new mate never arrived.

He was forced to spend all his time alone.

They claimed he had only been chained when he suffered violent outbursts, but disturbing reports said Kaavan had been beaten to try to control his temper.

He was confined to a pen, just 90m by 140m, with little shelter from the baking sun.

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Temperatures can soar to 40C in Islamabad, and the elephant had no shade.

The vice chairman of Pakistan Wildlife Foundation, Safwan Shahab Ahmad, who studied the elephant since the 1990s, said behaviour like head bobbing showed "a kind of mental illness".

Heartbreakingly, even his keeper, Mohammad Jalal, said: "I have hardly seen him happy."

Dr Amir Khalil, from the charity Four Paws, said: "Due to the lack of any exercise whatsoever and inappropriate diet, his toe nails are in very bad condition due to the lack of proper foot care and appropriate flooring.

"Mentally, he was also in a poor state – showing severe stereotypical behaviour and also aggressive attitude to humans. This can be easily explained by the lack of any mental enrichment and contact with other elephants, as well as humans – his mahouts were merely piling up the food in a single place once a day in his enclosure and then going home."

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Following a lengthy court battle, Kaavan will finally be moved to his new home next month.

He will be transported to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, where he will be given care he needs and friends to socialise with.

He said: "Elephants are social animals and in the wild live in groups. They are also one of the most intelligent species on earth.

"Separating an elephant from his family and keeping him in solitude can have very negative effects on their mental health."

Government minister Malik Amin Aslam said authorities would "free this elephant with a kind heart, and will ensure that he lives a happy life."

  • Animals

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