DHL safely relocates the world’s loneliest elephant

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Kaavan, a 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 organization, veterinary specialists and DHL Global Forwarding. The international freight specialist arm of Deutsche Post DHL Group took care of  the logistics, including securing the necessary customs authorisation, for the transportation of Kaavan from his previous home at the Marghazar Zoo. 

Weighing over four tonnes and at more than three meters in height, Kaavan boarded the plane on November 30 after a medical check for his long-awaited journey to his new home at Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary. The Asian elephant had taken a truck ride, from the zoo to the Islamabad International Airport. A customised crate, in full compliance with the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) regulations, was specially built for the trips. 

“Shipping live animals is especially complex as each animal has its unique requirements and Kaavan, who belongs to the largest land mammal species on the Asian continent, is the first adult elephant to board an airplane in Pakistan. We had to make special arrangements for him and are delighted to have been able to leverage our logistics know-how and global network of temperature controlled facilities, in addition to FOUR PAWS’ animal expertise, to safely bring Kaavan to his new home in Cambodia,” said Kelvin Leung, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific. 

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, the elephant received special training for several weeks to securely enter his crate. Kaavan was accompanied by a team of wildlife veterinarians who watched over him and kept him calm. 

“The highly-anticipated voyage 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 a species-appropriate environment and for the care that they require, and every possible effort has been made to ensure that the trip, which is his  passageway to a better life, was safe and comfortable for him,” said 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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