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Kaavan, the 'world's loneliest elephant,' is finally being released from captivity

We have all experienced quarantine for much of 2020. But it has been nothing like the ordeal that the elephant known as Kaavan has has gone through. For most of us, isolation has consisted of Netflix, food delivery, air conditioning and any other amenities associated with the place we call home. However, Kaavan has been confined to the Marghazar Zoo in Pakistan for the last 35 years. Imagine that.

The facility was closed down by Pakistan's High Court in May due to a severe breakdown of inhumane conditions and systematic negligence. The elephant was bound by chains for the last two decades, and despite being overweight, the animal showed signs of malnutrition. After losing his partner in 2012, Kaavan struggled with loneliness on top of the unacceptable living conditions. That is when Four Paws stepped in.





Four Paws is an independent organization fighting to be a voice for animals under human control. "Following the checks, which confirmed Kaavan is strong enough, steps will now be taken to finalize his relocation to an animal sanctuary potentially in Cambodia," said Martin Bauer, a spokesman for Four Paws.

Their efforts came just in time for Kaavan, but not soon enough for some of the other residents of the dilapidated quarters these animals had no choice but to call their home."Unfortunately, the rescue comes too late for two lions that died during an attempted transfer at the end of July after local animal handlers set a fire in their enclosure to force them into their transport crates," Bauer said in a statement released on Saturday.



According to the Associated Press, Kaavan showed signs of depression in addition to his physical ailments. Bauer said, "He also developed stereotypical behavior, which means he shakes his head back and forth for hours. This is mainly because he is simply bored." And who can blame him. Picture losing your life partner and spending year after year alone and confined to a tiny living space. It sounds a lot like serving a prison sentence in solitary for an animal that did nothing wrong. And now, much like an inmate released after being proven innocent, Kaavan is a free elephant.

As a result of pressure from activists around the world, including household names like superstar Cher, the elephant who has been held in captivity will now have the opportunity to be free and find new companionship. He will no longer be dubbed "world's loneliest elephant."

Hopefully, soon enough, we'll all be able to have the same great news as Kaavan and be able to be healthy and get back to life as we've always known it. In the meantime, freeing innocent animals who are held in captivity is always a cause for celebration. Kaavan, we wish you the best.

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