The urgency to move Kaavan, the male Asian elephant, from the Marghzaar Zoo in Islamabad where he is living in horrific conditions, to safety at a Cambodian sanctuary has intensified once again; following the tragic death of another elephant in Pakistani’s Lahore Zoo in mid-May.
As previously reported by WAN, after three decades of being chained and living in deplorable conditions at the zoo, the public’s advocating for Kaavan appeared to move in the right direction when Pakistan’s Senate Standing Committee agreed on July 25, 2016, that sending the abused, neglected and isolated elephant to the sanctuary was “the right thing to do.”
Unfathomably, it appears as if nothing had been done to facilitate the move, even though Lek Chailert, the Founder of Save Elephant Foundation has offered Kaavan a home at a sanctuary, she also co-founded The Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary. The founder of the sanctuary, David Casselman made the official offer in a letter to Senators in Pakistan.
While Senators in Pakistan have recommended the move, local government who manage the zoo and therefore “own” Kaavan still stubbornly refuse to let him go due to the high amount of income he attracts from zoo visitors.
The Senators remain committed to transferring Kaavan to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary.
According to an official Press Release, Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani observed at a Parliament House on Wednesday, that the Upper House took lead by constituting a Committee headed by Senator Nuzhat Sadiq to look into the reports about ‘Kaavan’s’ health and also the condition of other animals in the Zoo. He proposed that a wider medical board should be constituted in this regard to thoroughly assess the physical and mental health condition of the lonely animal.
Chairman Senate directed Senator Nuzhat Sadie and Senator Samina Abid will contact Sri Lankan High Commissioner since the Sri Lankan government had earlier promised for replacement of the aged elephant with a younger one.
He also directed CDA to improve the enclosure of the elephant and provide healthy food and a better environment for the animal.
The saga to relocate Keevan has been moving back and forth for years. It needs to stop.
As recently as last December, Four Paws International were finally given access to Islamabad Zoo to asses the conditions of the animals. They made two fundamental recommendations regarding Kaavan in a written report in early January 2017.
These were that the security barrier between the public and Kaavan be improved, and crucial for Kaavan that a fence is built inside his enclosure in order to train him painlessly in protected contact to become accustomed to receiving veterinary care. They even offered two weeks of hands on training for the mahout. All these recommendations were to be completed within six months. The zoo has reportedly done nothing at all, and the deadline is quickly approaching.
Kaavan still needs urgent attention to his injured feet, and we are not sure what his internal body has suffered due to his years of being kept in horrid conditions.
He continues to display stereotypic behavior which Four Paws International described as ‘severe,’ but which zoo management likes to say is “dancing.” Kaavan currently has no veterinary care at all.
Campaigning has resulted in Kavaan being mostly chain-free since the end of 2016 now that his former mahout has been replaced with a new one to look after Kaavan. The new mahout does the best he can with scant resources, but he will not be able to save Kaavan from illness, or cure him if the worst should happen and his feet become infected, or he comes down with another illness.
Kaavan’s living quarters are deeply inadequate and photographs taken yesterday show Kaavan with no water in his pool. the current temperature in Islamabad is 37C sometimes rising to 41C.
This campaign seeks to bring to light that Kaavan has been offered a home at the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary by Lek Chailert and David Casselman and to break the deadlock of the CDA.
We can’t sit back and wait until he dies along with Suzi and Saheli. The CDA must let him go NOW before its too late.
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