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Elephant kept in chains in Pakistan is released after 35 years

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The campaign took five years – but finally Kaavan the elephant is about to be released.

He spent his entire life in the Maraghazar Zoo in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, where animals rights activists claim he was badly mistreated. He was kept in chains and exhibited symptoms of mental illness.

Kaavan’s only companion died in 2012. His story has received more and more attention ever since.

The neglect Kaavan experienced has triggered global outrage. A campaign to free him was backed by numerous celebrities including singer Cher and a petition demanding his release garnered over 400,000 signatures.

A Pakistani court finally approved the elephant’s relocation in May and eventually it was decided that he be sent to to Lek’s sanctuary in Cambodia.

Government minister Malik Amin Aslam said authorities would “free this elephant with a kind heart, and will ensure that he lives a happy life”.

The court’s ruling also ordered dozens of other animals, including brown bears, lions and birds, to be relocated temporarily while the zoo improves its standards.

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