Kaavan relocation likely soon as foreign vets declare him fit for travel

The elephant is obese and needs foot treatment but is in good enough shape to be relocated

Kaavan, the lone elephant from the now-closed Marghazar Zoo, could be moved to a sanctuary in Cambodia shortly after a Four Paws medical team cleared him for the journey.

The medical checks confirmed that Kaavan is “strong enough” and now steps will now be taken to finalise his relocation to an animal sanctuary potentially in Cambodia, the Austria-based global animal welfare organization said.

During the medical examination, the veterinarians took blood samples, measured him, and inserted a microchip in his left shoulder. 

Dr Amir Khalil, Four Paws veterinarian and mission leader, said that there are signs of obesity and Kaavan also needs long-term foot care. Khalil added that the animal is in good enough health for the journey.

“Due to malnutrition and lack of physical exercise Kaavan shows visible signs of obesity. Also, his nails are cracked and malformed which can be attributed to the inappropriate flooring and structure of his enclosure. To solve this issue, he needs to go through a long-term foot care program, which cannot be performed in Marghazar Zoo,” Khalil said.

“A lack of physical and behavioural enrichments as well as the absence of a partner, have resulted in Kaavan becoming incredibly bored. He has already developed stereotypical behaviour where he swooshes his head and trunk from side to side for hours. Overall, the results from his blood tests are good and his general health condition allows him to be relocated” said Dr Frank Göritz, head veterinarian at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin.

In order to fly Kaavan, a special jet may have to be arranged. A special cargo jet that is built to carry heavy weights and oversized packages should do the trick. One hopes that Kaavan finds peace at his new home.    

The elephant has been a part of the zoo after the Sri Lankan High Commission gifted it to Pakistan in 1985. His female companion Saheli died in 2012. The Islamabad High Court ordered the city officials to relocate the elephant to an appropriate sanctuary and close down the zoo for uplifting. The zoo will remain closed until international agency with a good repute approves it fit for animals.

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