An Asian elephant Kaavan born in 1985, has spent most of his life in Pakistan’s Islamabad Zoo. The Sri Lanka government gifted Kaavan to the Pakistan government in 1985.
Kaavan was gifted as a result of the positive relationship between the two countries. He is one of the few captive elephants to live in Pakistan.
Kaavan spent his entire life in the Maraghazar Zoo in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, where animal rights activists claimed he was badly mistreated, kept in chains, and exhibited symptoms of mental illness.
An elephant named Saheli was brought from Bangladesh in 1990. Saheli remained his companion until he died in 2012.
Since Saheli’s death, his story received more recognition and triggered global outrage.
Cher, the pop singer, and other numerous celebrities backed a campaigned since 2016, demanding the release of Kaavan from the zoo.
Roughly 400,000 signatures garnered in a petition demanding his release.
The campaign took years – but finally, Kaavan, the elephant, is about to be released.
In May 2020, the High Court in Islamabad ordered that the elephant be relocated to a different sanctuary with immediate effect.
It was decided that he would be sent to Lek’s sanctuary in Cambodia.
Government minister Malik Amin Aslam said authorities would ensure that he lives a happy life.
Apparently, the court’s ruling also commanded dozens of other animals, including lions, birds, and brown bears, to be relocated temporarily while the zoo updates its standards.
When elephants are kept captive in zoo environments, their needs cannot be adequately met, and their welfare is severely compromised. Zoos cannot mimic the social structure that they need to thrive.
Islamabad Zoo, previously Marghazar Zoo, consists of 82-acres in Islamabad Capital Territory. It was opened in 1978 and is under the administration of the Capital Development Authority of Pakistan.
Featured image is not the original photo.