An elephant who has spent the last eight years alone in a zoo has finally made contact with another of his species.
Kaavan, dubbed 'the world's loneliest elephant' has spent 35 years in Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad and has been living alone since his partner Saheli died in 2012.
Elephants are very social animals, and the loss of Saheli was devastating for Kaavan.
But following campaigning by singer Cher, the elephant has been relocated to a sanctuary in Siem Reap, Cambodia where he's been pictured interacting with another elephant for the first time in years.
Tweeting about the moment, animal rescue organisation Four Paws said: "First contact in 8 years! We can now officially call him the 'former loneliest elephant in the world'! Seeing Kaavan interacting with other elephants is a huge moment for us but more importantly for Kaavan. We are extremely moved!"
In an emotional snap, the two elephants can be seen touching trunks - and our hearts are breaking!
#FreeKaavan :elephant:: First contact in 8 years!
We can now officially call him the "former loneliest elephant in the world"! Seeing Kaavan interacting with other elephants is a huge moment for us but more importantly for Kaavan. :two_hearts:We are extremely moved! pic.twitter.com/x5k60XTORP
- FOUR PAWS (@fourpawsint) December 1, 2020
Back in May, the zoo was ordered to close and Cher began writing songs urging for the 9,000lb elephant to be released.
Finally, last week, led by animal rescue organisation Four Paws, Kaavan was lifed out of the enclosure and on to a truck, where he was sent to Islamabad's airport ready for his 10-hour flight to Cambodia followed by a five hour journey to Siem Reap.
Vet Amir Khalil, who accompanied Kaavan said: "He behaves like a frequent flier. The flight was uneventful, which is all you can ask for when you transfer an elephant."
In true Covid era style, Kaavan even had to have a coronavirus test before he travelled. And he was treated to lots of snacks throughout the long journey, to keep up his energy levels.
"Once Kaavan feels at home in a controlled setting, he will be released in a wildlife sanctuary, in Oddar Meanchey province, in the northern section of Cambodia, where some 600 Asian elephants live in peace and tranquillity," said a statement from Neth Pheaktra, a spokesperson for the Environment Ministry.
This makes us so happy!
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