ISLAMABAD: Kaavan, the Asian elephant of Islamabad Marghazar Zoo, which entertained children and parents for 35 years, has safely arrived in Cambodia amid joyful fanfare, according to a press statement issued here from the Ministry of Climate Change. The elephant set off on a nearly 10-hours journey from Pakistan to Cambodia in the wee hours of Monday morning on a specially chartered cargo plane from Russia. In Cambodian wildlife sanctuary, Kaavan would initially be kept in a small designated section of the park with separating barrier between his place over 10-acre and the place where he could see other elephants in the wildlife sanctuary. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, who bade farewell to the elephant along with hundreds of people with their eyes wet and members of civil society organisations, wished Kaavan more joyful days throughout his rest of the life in Cambodia’s wildlife sanctuary. “Though it’s a deeply sad moment for us to see the elephant leaving us amid heart-wrenching feelings of separation, we are sure about it being the right step to retire Kaavan after spending over three decades in captivity,” he told media, hoping that it would have happier and healthier life with the creatures of his own kind in the new place. Transporting him to a place, where he would be with other elephants of his kind is undoubtedly the right decision that the Prime Minister Imran Khan also supported, Malik Amin Aslam stressed. He remarked, “We would surely be glad to see Kaavan happy in Cambodia and it is hoped he would find a partner too very soon.” He recalled that following the Islamabad High Court’s order in May this year for Kaavan’s relocation to safer place, the eight-member expert committee was formed to propose a safer and more suitable place for relocation and retirement of the elephant. The committee recommended an elephant sanctuary spanning over 25,000-acres in Cambodia as the most suitable place for relocation and retirement of Kavaan of the Islamabad Marghzar Zoo after giving joy to thousands of visiting children and parents since the elephant was gifted by the Sri Lankan government in 1985, Malik Amin Aslam added. He highlighted that the elephant sanctuary in Cambodia already houses elephants and is equipped with experts, who have relocated and rehabilitated over 80 elephants so far and added, “I hope it would be certainly the best place for Kavaan to be the elephant with his kinds and live a more joyful life”. The premier’s aide told media further that while Kaavan awaited a go-ahead since the Islamabad High Court’s orders for retirement and relocation of the elephant to the wildlife sanctuary, we left no stone unturned in ensuring that the animal is medically fit for travel after the approval from the veterinarians of the receiving country of Cambodia. He pointed out that there are three female elephants at this fairly new species appropriate sanctuary and he will be the first male elephant there. He will get acquainted to the grass and plains prior to being allowed to wander freely inside the 25,000-acre sanctuary and forage for himself. He also appreciated the role of American iconic pop singer and musician Cher, Free the Wild and Four Paws INGOS for playing instrumental role in safe relocation of the elephant to Cambodia. “The Four Paws team was invited over three months ago by the Islamabad wildlife Management Board of the climate change ministry to safely transfer the elephant Cambodia, without whose help transfer and retirement of the elephant could have been the most difficult task for us.” The PM’s aide Malik Amin Aslam said. A team of vets and experts from Four Paws spent months, working with Kaavan to get him fit and ready for the mammoth trip to Cambodia, which involved training the elephant to enter the massive metal transport crate that was placed in a cargo plane for the hours-long flight. Arrangements are underway to transfer #Kaavan from Islamabad zoo to airport. #Cambodia #FarewellKaavan pic.twitter.com/0eS3ZdejER — Daily Times (@dailytimespak) November 29, 2020 Before departing for Cambodia to welcome Kaavan there, Cher spent three days in Islamabad to provide moral support to the elephant. During her stay, she also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan, thanking him for supporting the safe relocation of Kaavan to Cambodia. He told media that Cher has expressed gratitude over Pakistan’s unflinching support regarding the elephant’s relocation to Cambodia, Quoting the American pop Singer Malik Amin Aslam said that Cher deeply appreciated PM Imran Khan’s support, saying, “without unfailing support of the Prime Minister Imran Khan, his special aide on climate change Malik Amin Aslam and climate change ministry officials, the safe relocation of Kaavan would not have been smooth”.