Lonely no more: Kaavan the elephant from Pakistan makes new friend

Newly-arrived Asian elephant Kaavan, who was flown from Pakistan, is seen in his new enclosure at the Kulen Prom Tep Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia's Oddar Meanchey province on December 1, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 01 December 2020

Lonely no more: Kaavan the elephant from Pakistan makes new friend

  • Reaching out with his trunk, Kaavan greeted a fellow inhabitant at Cambodian sanctuary where he is beginning his new life
  • The 36-year-old elephant — dubbed the “world’s loneliest” — was the sole Asian elephant at Islamabad’s dilapidated zoo

Oddar Meanchey, Cambodia: It was his first contact with another elephant in eight years.
Reaching out with his trunk, Kaavan tentatively greeted a fellow inhabitant of the Cambodian sanctuary where he is beginning his new life after being rescued from grim conditions in a Pakistani zoo.
The 36-year-old bull elephant — dubbed the “world’s loneliest” — was the sole Asian elephant at Islamabad’s dilapidated zoo. Animal rights groups launched a campaign to save him from the substandard conditions there, boosted by spirited social media support from US actress and musician Cher.
He arrived in Cambodia on Monday to much fanfare — including a welcome from Cher herself, who not only traveled to see him off from Pakistan, but also arrived ahead of him at Siem Reap airport.
Tuesday saw Kaavan settling into his enclosure at Kulen Prom Tep Wildlife Sanctuary, where he was seen touching trunks with another elephant, captured in images provided by rights group Four Paws.




This handout photo taken and released on December 1, 2020 by the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary shows newly arrived Asian elephant Kaavan (L) touching trunks with another elephant in his new enclosure at the Kulen Prom Tep Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia's Oddar Meanchey province. (AFP)

“First contact with an elephant in eight years — this is a huge moment for Kaavan,” said Martin Bauer, a spokesman with the Austria-based group that worked for months to get him ready for the flight.
“Kaavan will finally have the chance to live a species-appropriate and peaceful life,” Bauer said, adding that the entire team was extremely moved to witness the interaction.
“He has a very bright future ahead of him.”
Once Kaavan has adjusted to a “controlled setting,” he will be released into the wider sanctuary, where there are three female elephants, an environment ministry official said on Monday.
The plan is to breed Kaavan with local elephants to “conserve the genetic fold.”
Transporting an adult elephant by plane is no small task, and has only been undertaken a handful of times.
Helpers packed his trunk with 200 kilograms (450 pounds) of food to snack on during the seven-hour flight aboard a jumbo Russian cargo plane. A tube system was installed in his transport crate to handle up to 200 liters (58 gallons) of urine.
Activists have accused the zoo in Islamabad of chaining Kaavan up, and of not properly sheltering him during the searing summers there.
Conditions were so bad that in May, a judge ruled that all the zoo’s animals should be relocated.


PM Khan calls for affordable supply of COVID vaccines, debt relief for developing countries

Updated 25 January 2021

PM Khan calls for affordable supply of COVID vaccines, debt relief for developing countries

  • Pakistani prime minister delivers statement at fourth session of UN Conference on Trade and Development
  • Offers five-point agenda to address structural barriers hampering global development during pandemic

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday proposed a five-point agenda to address structural barriers hampering global development during the coronavirus pandemic, urging the "equitable and affordable" supply of vaccines to developing countries and calling for additional debt relief. 

Khan presented a statement at the fourth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Financing for Development. 

He said the pandemic offered an opportunity to address “structural barriers hampering global prosperity and development,” proposing a five-point agenda.

“One, a viable framework for equitable and affordable supply of COVID vaccine to developing countries. The coverage of the COVAX facility must be expanded. This would enable the developing countries to spend their precious resources on socio-economic development needs,” the PM said. 

He said developing nations should get additional debt relief, including suspension of debt repayments for the most stressed countries until the end of the pandemic, restructuring of their public-sector debt under an agreed and inclusive multilateral framework; and expanding concessional financing through multilateral development banks.

“Three, a general allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) of 500 billion dollars to help alleviate balance-of-payment pressures,” Khan added. “Four, return of stolen assets held by corrupt politicians and criminals ... Reportedly, a staggering amount of 7 trillion dollars is parked in 'haven' destinations. And it is also reported that one trillion dollars annually leaves the developing countries for these “haven” destinations.”

Finally, the PM said, mobilizing $100 billion annually by developed countries for climate action in developing countries was a target that needed to be met. 

“Economic malaise and recession, like the coronavirus, is highly communicable,” Khan said. “Global policy measures, along the lines I have outlined, are urgently needed to save lives, revive economies, and build back better.”

Pakistan has reported 534,041 COVID-19 cases so far, and 11,318 deaths, far lower than what officials had feared.

“In Pakistan, our efforts have been aimed at ensuring that we save people from dying from the virus, and at the same time preventing them from dying from hunger,” Khan said. “Our strategy fortunately has worked well so far. But continuous efforts are needed to fully overcome the second wave of the virus. And also at the same time to maintain and stimulate economic growth.”