Following a high court ruling, Austria-based animal welfare and rescue group Four Paws International were enlisted to help move Kaavan
A team of international vets using tranquilliser darts, flatbreads and the soothing lyrics of Frank Sinatra conducted a medical examination Friday on Pakistan’s only Asian elephant, ahead of his planned move to Cambodia.
The plight of Kaavan, an overweight, 35-year-old bull elephant has drawn international condemnation and highlighted the woeful state of Islamabad’s zoo, where conditions are so bad a judge in May ordered all the animals to be moved.
Following the ruling, Austria-based animal welfare and rescue group Four Paws International were enlisted to help move Kaavan—whose case was boosted by the singer and activist Cher.
A transport crate must be built and the elephant habituated to it before being flown to a 25,000-acre Cambodian wildlife sanctuary in a “jumbo” jet—probably a giant Antonov An-225 airlift cargo plane.
But first, experts must know how Kaavan has fared since the last examination in 2016, so on Friday they sedated him to get up close.
Armed with a tub filled with bananas and flatbreads, Four Paws veterinarian Amir Khalil coaxed the elephant into an emptied-out concrete bathing pond while head vet Frank Goeritz used a tranquilliser pistol to fire three large darts into the animal.
Unaccustomed to close human contact, the elepha