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Kaavan Set To Retire To Cambodian Elephant Sanctuary.

Dear Supporters,

My fellow Co-Founders, Trustees and I are delighted by the news from Pakistan regarding the relocation and retirement of Kaavan, Pakistan’s last remaining Asian elephant.

After 5 years of relentless effort by Free the Wild and Team Kaavan, the Pakistan Government has ruled that we have their consent to relocate Kaavan to Lek’s sanctuary in Cambodia – a place we have personally visited and vetted and are delighted for Kaavan to call home.

The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) emergency meeting was held on July 13, 2020. The Board examined various options for relocating Kavaan in compliance with the Islamabad High Court’s judgment dated May 21, 2020.

The Chairman of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board had earlier formed an “expert committee”, consisting of local and international elephant experts along with representatives from Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change and Islamabad Zoo. After consideration, it was proposed that the 25,000 acre sanctuary in Cambodia, already home to two other elephants and manned by a team of experts who have transported and re-habilitated over 80 Asian elephants to date, would be the best choice for Kaavan.

The Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change; Malik Amin Aslam, had earlier welcomed the decision of the Honorable Islamabad High Court and had acknowledged that under the circumstances it is a sad step for the zoo to take, but the right one for the betterment of the elephant.

We are delighted by their decision to entrust us as Free the Wild with the care and custodianship of Kaavan. We are now working with our team of vets to check Kaavan’s health, after which time we will apply for the CITES permit to move him. Once received, Kaavan will be trained to enter his temporary transport crate, until he is comfortable and familiar with it. We believe this training will take approximately 3 – 4 weeks and we hope to have him freed by the end of September at the latest. We will keep you all informed as we progress with this landmark project.

Cher, Mark and Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne
Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne with her fellow Co-Founders of Free the Wild, Cher and Mark Cowne

Cher, Mark and I, as well as Anika Sleem (Trustee) would like to thank everyone for your continued support and belief in this project. We could not have done this without any of you.

Well done to all of you and thank you for your continued support.


Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne

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