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Kaavan, "World's Loneliest Elephant" Regains Freedom After 35 years in chains

For more than 35 years all Kaavan the elephant had known were chains and 'mental torment'.

Eight years ago the bull elephant, who has spent his life at the Maraghazar Zoo in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, was left totally alone when his companion, Saheli, died.

The two elephants had shared an enclosure since 1990, but in 2012 Kaavan was left all alone.

After it emerged Kaavan was reportedly tied up at all times, hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition for him to be given a new home, where he would be better cared for.

Four years ago, zoo bosses insisted Kaavan was no longer chained but his long-awaited new mate never arrived and the elephant was forced to spend all his time alone.

They claimed he had only been chained when he suffered violent outbursts but there were also disturbing reports that Kaavan had been beaten to try to control his temper.





To make matters worse, Kaavan was confined to a pen just 90m by 140m with little shelter, which meant he had no respite from the baking sun.

Temperatures can reach a stifling 40C in Islamabad and there was no shade for the lonely elephant.

Spending so long alone and with nothing to occupy him is believed to have had a devastating impact on Kaavan - and in the years after his mate died he showed increasing signs of mental distress and depression.

Safwan Shahab Ahmad, the vice chairman of Pakistan Wildlife Foundation who has studied the elephant since the 1990s, said behaviour like head bobbing demonstrated “a kind

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