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A Journey To Freedom

Added: Monday, November 30th 2020 at 3:56am by Maria

This is Kavaan and this is his journey to freedom which ended today, 30th Of November 2020.

Kavaan has lived in a very dismal enclosure in an Islamabad zoo for over 30 years. 

He developed the stereotypical behaviour of swaying as his mind tried to deal with his loneliness and boredom and abject misery.

For many years people have been petitioning for his release to a sanctuary. I remember signing petitions for him way back when I was still living in Jakarta.

Cher started working for his release in 2016 and finally she was able to join him on his journey to freedom from Islamabad in Pakistan to a beautiful sanctuary just outside of Siem Reap in Cambodia.

with support from Four Paws International and Elephant Nature Park's Darrick Thompson, the collaboration was a mammoth project that took lots of planning and lots and lots of donations from all over the world.

Donations paid for vets, carers, vehicles, and a Russian plane big enough to load him on board for a 7 hour flight to Cambodia.

It took several months to build his transport crate and train him to get accustomed to spending time in the crate to prepare him for a very long journey to Cambodia.

training took lots of patience and lots of favorite treats to get Kavaan to feel safe in his transport crate.

he had to learn not to fear the transport crate so it was placed beside his enclosure for days before any training started.

The day finally arrived and it was time to load him onto the crate and start the very long gruelling journey to his new home.

it tooks days of preparation, supplies gathered and loaded onto the plane.


Time to go..

(please click Watch on Youtube)

Finally it was time to load him into the plane...

supervised very meticulously by the Four Paws team and vets to ensure Kavaan stays calm and does not panic.

Cher and the team wishing Kavaan bon voyage

for the first time in 35 years Kavaan's enclosure is empty.


Touchdown in Cambodia...

In Cambodia Cher is waiting for Kavaan's plane to land...

Welcome home reception and blessing from Buddhist monks.

(please click Watch on youtube)

The restraints on his legs were necessary to keep everyone safe on board the flight in case of panic. Nobody could know how Kavaan would react to 7 hours of flying in a restrictive crate.

Freshening up before the two hour drive from the airport to the sanctuary, his new home in Cambodia


Darrick Thompson from Elephant Nature Park takes over for the last leg of Kavaan's journey to sanctuary, here he explains how Kavaan is doing, and information about the tethering and what life will be like for Kavaan in his new home.

This has been happening all day today and as I post this, Kavaan and the team are driving home to the sanctuary where his beautiful new life awaits.

I will post more when he arrives and his first days at the sanctuary.

He will be meeting two lovely ladies Sarai Mia and Arun Reah and who knows, this could be the start of a beautiful new elephant romance!!

User Comments

Wow, I didn't know Cher was involved in this kind of thing...maybe I should have but missed it somehow.  Anyway, this is great news.

It's the best news ever!!  I've been praying for this day for years and years!!  There's lots more elephants languishing in misery in others zoos around the world, I wish more could be rescued.

One at a time....and if more people get involved, they may all eventually be free.  Better yet, maybe the world will decide to leave them free to start with at some point.

There's another one languishing in a concrete prison in Manila zoo in the Philippines, a lonely elephant that needs to be rescued and sent to sanctuary but the zoo refuses to release her....{#basic-cry.gif}

sad thing i there is always another one. Maybe some day, humans will learn to have respect for themselves and the creatures they share the planet with.

were still a few centuries away from that happening (if it ever will). People in other countries all around the world dont see animals like we do in the west. Culturally, many have not developed empathy for animals and the only value they place on animals is how much income they will generate or how many people it will feed.

Even in the west, the attitude is spotty.  There are lots of people for whom animals are no more important than "any other tool".  


This is nice to see the elephant getting a new home and Cher was part of it. I knew she was into animal rehab. but not this.

I believe somewhere in the States Four Paws is here. I have heard of them before and I think I read something about them here in the States.

Thanks for the blog. Bro. Doc

Yes Four Paws is an international organization Bro Doc and they have done incredible work in Animal welfare all over the world. And thank God for them!!!

There are some video's on Youtube to do with Four Paws and their rescues of dogs. It is nice to have an organization like that, that cares so much for the naimals of the world. Take care and have a great day Maria. Bro. Doc

I just finished reading the story in the bing news section--was going to send it to you later--There is a SANTA!!!

There is indeed Martin!!..{#basic-laugh.gif}

What wonderful news for Kavaan, at long last.

yes it's been a long time coming Sandra. This is the beginning of a new life and I bet he feels like he's died and gone to heaven!!..{#basic-laugh.gif}

Congrats. I am so happy  that there are caring people taking care of these animals. God Bless these God people.

God Bless them indeed Wendi, heaven knows animals need so much help all over the world.

They certainly do Maria. 

We have ads on our tv asking for donations for projects like these but you always worry that most of the money goes to the CEO's and doesn't help, but I may start giving to this Four Paws.

I've been supporting animal welfare charities all over the world for years and I've come to know which ones are worthy and which ones arent.  I never support any organization until I've done heaps of research, there's lots of scam artists out there who pray on people who love animals unfortunately.  Four Paws International does great work all over the world...{#basic-laugh.gif}

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