The world’s loneliest elephant


CBS News

Kaavan, the world’s loneliest elephant, greets guests at the zoo where he lives in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Kaavan is an elephant that was born in Sri Lanka; in 1985, he was given to a run-down zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan. He has been in Pakistan since he was a year old, but recently many social activists have been trying to find him a better forever home. Their efforts gained traction and media attention when singer Cher went to Pakistan to visit him. 

Kaavaan hasn’t had it easy in Pakistan due to the conditions of the zoo and a general lack of funding. Kaavaan used to have a mate named Saheli, who made him feel less lonely, but he lost her in 2012. Her death caused a shift in Kaavaan’s demeanor—suddenly he was irritable and annoyed with his handlers.

Cher and other activists are helping the activism group Four Paws move Kaavan to a wildlife sanctuary. He will be placed with other mammals and will not be as lonely as he has been over the past eight years. Kaavan’s relocation from Pakistan to Cambodia has been increasingly difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kaavan tested negative for the virus before he started his journey. After Kaavan is through with the quarantine that is mandated for his departure, he will be grouped with three other elephants, who are all female. 

One of the main veterinarians who has been helping Kaavan get back in shape before his trip to Cambodia has grown to love and bond with the elephant . 

A CBS News article revealed more information about Kaavan and the veterinarian helping him get back into shape. 

“Egyptian veterinarian Dr. Amir Khalil, Four Paws International Director of Project Development, is known for rescuing animals from areas stricken by war or disasters,” the article stated. “He’s become Kaavan’s best friend, forming a close bond with him over the last few months as the elephant was brought back to health for his trip.” 

“When I first met Kaavan he was severely overweight, had issues with his nails and was displaying what is known as stereotype behavior,” Khalil said of the elephant. “Animals in captivity need to move, but if chained they resort to moving their head from side to side in order to release endorphins and all their pent up energy.” 

“I think it is really sad,” said my sibling Eliot Stultz. “Elephants have emotions just like humans, and they can feel emotions, such as love and loss, just like us.”

“I feel like it’s really important for anyone, no matter if they are human or animals, to find love in their life,” added my high school friend Ryan Bishop. “Love keeps us from feeling alone and I could not even imagine not having anyone that I could relate to or see on a regular basis for over eight years. That sounds really terrifying and scary. I feel so much for Kaavan and really hope he finds that love that he once had in his new home.”