Cher welcomes ‘world’s loneliest elephant’ to new home in Cambodia Dec 01, 2020 0 507 12345 AFP Siem Reap, CambodiaSuperstar Cher welcomed “the world’s loneliest elephant” to Cambodia on Monday to begin a new life at a specialised sanctuary after the creature was rescued from grim conditions in a Pakistani zoo.The plight of Kaavan -- a 36-year-old bull elephant at Islamabad’s dilapidated zoo and originally from Sri Lanka -- sparked global uproar from animal rights groups, who launched a campaign to save him.His cause was boosted by a spirited social media support from actress and musician Cher, who travelled to see him off from Pakistan and then to Cambodia to welcome him to his new home.Wearing a black face mask, the Oscar winner was on hand at Siem Reap airport and waved excitedly at the plane after it landed around 2:30 pm (0730 GMT).“I am so proud he is here,” she told AFP, after greeting Kaavan through an opening at the base of the crate.“He’s going to be really happy here,” said Cher, adding that she was hopeful his ordeal was over.Kaavan’s much-anticipated journey was “uneventful”, said Amir Khalil, a veterinarian from animal welfare group Four Paws, adding he behaved “like a frequent flyer”.“Kaavan was eating, was not stressed -- he was even a little bit sleeping, standing, leaning at the crate wall,” he said. 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 kilos (450 pounds) of food to snack on during the seven-hour flight, while a tube system was installed in his transport crate aboard a jumbo Russian cargo plane to handle up to 200 litres of urine.After Kaavan touched down, monks offered him fruit, chanted prayers and sprinkled holy water on his crate to bless him.He was then loaded onto a truck for the journey to Oddar Meanchey province where a wildlife sanctuary that houses other elephants will be his new home.Cher followed behind in her own vehicle as Kaavan made his way through farmland and past the famous Angkor Wat temple. “Cambodia is pleased to welcome Kaavan. No longer will he be ‘the world’s loneliest elephant’,” deputy environment minister Neth Pheaktra said.“We expect to breed Kaavan with local elephants -- this is an effort to conserve the genetic fold,” the minister told AFP.- Years of campaigning -Kaavan’s journey is the culmination of years of campaigning from animal rights groups, who say the animal’s behaviour in captivity demonstrated “a kind of mental illness” likely due to the zoo’s woeful conditions.In May, a Pakistani judge ordered that all the animals at the zoo be moved.Upon hearing about Kaavan’s freedom, Cher had tweeted that the decision marked “one of the greatest moments” of her life. A team of vets and experts from Austria-based Four Paws has spent months working with Kaavan to get him ready for the trip -- a complicated process due to his size and the amount of food needed en route.The elephant also had to be taught to enter the four-tonne metal crate that was then secured in the belly of a mammoth Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane for the journey.Four Paws, along with Islamabad authorities, also safely moved three wolves and some monkeys from the zoo. Currently only two Himalayan brown bears, one deer and one monkey remain.bur-pdw/fox Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Iran says Israel, exiled group killed scientist in complex op Dec 01, 2020 0 313 Turkish ship leaves disputed waters in east Med Dec 01, 2020 0 841 Forces would hunt down Tigray leaders soon: Abiy Dec 01, 2020 0 56 At least 13 dead in fiery Pakistan road crash: Police Islamabad: At least 13 people were killed when a passenger van and a bus collided and caught fire in Pakistan’s central Punjab province on Monday, police said. The vehicles were consumed by flames when a gas cylinder .. Thousands defy virus restrictions to join rally in Pak Islamabad: Thousands rallied in Pakistan on Monday as the opposition builds momentum to dislodge the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan as the country battles a second wave of Covid-19. The rally in historic city of .. Taiwan suspends import of workers from Indonesia Taipei: Taiwan on Monday said it would temporarily halt the import of Indonesian migrant workers after detecting a surge of coronavirus cases among arrivals from the country. Of the 24 new coronavirus cases confirmed in .. Eight shot dead in Sri Lanka prison virus riot AFP Colombo Sri Lankan prison guards shot dead eight inmates and wounded at least 71 others in a riot sparked by anger over rising coronavirus infections, officials said Monday. Sri Lanka’s prisons have seen weeks of .. 14 Indian nationals detained in Yemen’s capital Sana’a set free India News network New Delhi Fourteen Indian nationals who were under long detention in Sana’a were released on Saturday. The Indian embassy in Djibouti is in touch with them and is making arrangements for their safe ..