DHL Global Forwarding helps ‘loneliest elephant’ to new life

DHL Kaavan
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Kaavan, the by-now famous ‘world’s loneliest elephant’, is now settling in his new home in Cambodia after the journey from Pakistan through the efforts of partners including DHL Global Forwarding.

The 36-year old Asian elephant is settling in his new home in Cambodia after his flight from Islamabad, Pakistan. The long-haul flight took months of careful and extensive planning by FOUR PAWS, a global animal welfare organisation, veterinary specialists and DHL Global Forwarding.

The international freight specialist arm of Deutsche Post DHL took care of the logistics, including the necessary customs authorisation for the transportation of Kaavan, from his previous home at Islamabad’s Marghazar Zoo.

“Over the years, DHL has transported different kinds of goods, overcoming several challenges. However, the transport of animals is always an extraordinary task,” says Thomas Mack, global head of Air Freight DHL Global Forwarding.

kaavan DHL
Kaavan was born in Sri Lanka in 1985 and upon his birth, the Sri Lankan government gifted him to then-president of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq. The elephant was kept at the Islamabad Zoo and remained as the only Asian elephant living in Pakistan. An elephant named Saheli was brought from Bangladesh in 1990 and remained as Kaavan’s partner until her death in 2012.

“The multimodal journey had to be planned very carefully. Temperature was controlled throughout the flight, and Kaavan was accompanied by veterinaries to make sure he is safe. With our expertise and our global network, we were able to successfully relocate him to his new long-term sanctuary.”

After a medical check, the Asian elephant had taken a truck ride, from the zoo to the Islamabad International Airport (ISB) to start the long-awaited journey to his new home at Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary on 30 of November.

With a weight of over four tonnes and a height of more than three metres, the transport of elephant Kaavan had to be planned and handled with sure instinct. Kaavan, also known as the world’s loneliest elephant, received global attention for his living conditions in the Marghazar Zoo. To prepare for the journey, Kaavan received special training for several weeks to securely enter his crate. The elephant was accompanied by a team of wildlife veterinarians who watched over him and kept him calm.

“The highly-anticipated journey is the result of months of planning and coordination with DHL and various animal specialists, such as the team from EKIPA, with the support of local Pakistan officials, American businessman Eric S. Margolis and Cher’s non-governmental organisation ‘Free The Wild’.

Kaavan has been relocated to provide him with species-appropriate environment and for the care that he requires, and every possible effort has been made to ensure that the trip, which is his passageway to a better life, is safe and comfortable for him,” says Dr. Amir Khalil, FOUR PAWS veterinarian and leader of the rescue mission.

In 2018, DHL successfully helped four grown endangered Ussuri brown bears travel across continents from Japan to England, and sent two giant pandas on a climate-neutral journey from China to Finland.


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