Tag: Worlds

Cher Helps Kaavan, The World’s Loneliest Elephant, Finally Relocate From The Marghazar Zoo In Pakistan To The Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary

Photos By: FOUR PAWS International

Kaavan, the world’s loneliest elephant, has finally been relocated from the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan, to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, with global animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS International overseeing the transfer.

Last month, the Islamabad High Court appointed Dr. Amir Khalil, veterinarian at  FOUR PAWS, as amicus curiae and assigned him with the logistical organization of Kaavan’s relocation, along with the support of the NGO Free The Wild.

As WAN reported in 2017, Free The Wild’s co-founder, music legend Cher, has been fighting for Kaavan’s rescue since 2016.

Cher waiting for Kaavan in Cambodia.

A Russian cargo plane and a four-ton transport crate that was able to hold a wild elephant are just some of the things that FOUR PAWS had to organize for Kavaan’s departure.

For FOUR PAWS, the rescue of Kaavan was their first elephant transfer by air. Worldwide, only a handful of adult elephants have been relocated by plane. To prepare 36-year-old Kaavan for his departure, the FOUR PAWS team, consisting of veterinarians and elephant experts, also spent about three months in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. Three times a day, the team practiced safe and stress-free entry and exit into and from the transport crate with Kaavan who weighs approximately four tons.

“Kaavan quickly gained confidence in us and made great progress in a short time. In his case, it not only took a village but a whole country to transfer Kaavan to Cambodia,” Dr. Khalil said in a statement. “Without the support of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, the Pakistani authorities and the local community, American businessman Eric S. Margolis, as well as our partners from Free The Wild, this relocation would not have been possible.”

“It fills me with incredible joy to see that Kaavan’s suffering is finally coming to an end. I cannot wait to bring him to Cambodia together with the FOUR PAWS team.” noted Cher prior to Kaavan’s long trip to his new home. “For the past four years my partners in Free The Wild – Mark, Gina, and I – have been working tirelessly to achieve this moment. ‘Free Kaavan’ will soon no longer be just a hashtag, but reality. And, that makes me extremely proud and happy.”

Kaavan at the Marghazar Zoo

The 28-hectare Marghazar Zoo was originally opened in 1978 as a wildlife sanctuary in the Margalla Hills in Islamabad, but was later sadly converted into a zoo. The zoo has been owned by Islamabad since its opening. Kaavan came to Pakistan as a gift from Sri Lanka in 1985. From 1990 on, he shared his enclosure at Marghazar Zoo with his partner, Saheli, but since her death in 2012, Kaavan has lived a lonely existence. The zoo repeatedly made headlines because of its poor conditions.

Kaavan at the Marghazar Zoo

WAN also reported in August, about the release of shocking video footage involving two lions that were caught in a fire in their small enclosure at the zoo. Both big cats tragically died because of smoke inhalation. In recent years, over 500 animals at the zoo have been reported missing, and in the last four years alone, over two dozen animals have died at the Marghazar Zoo.

Together with the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB), FOUR PAWS has already safely relocated three wolves, several monkeys, and all the rabbits, that used to be kept in Marghazar Zoo, in Pakistan.

WAN is thankful that Marghazar Zoo will finally be closing its doors permanently and the animals there will no longer have to suffer.

Please help FOUR PAWS with Kaavan’s rescue by donating HERE! 

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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Sea Shepherd Carries Out Critical Operation Retrieving Ghost Nets To Save Less Than 10 Vaquita Remaining In The Wild; The World’s Most Endangered Marine Mammal

Last week marked the completion of a collaborative effort aimed at removing abandoned fishing gear from the habitat of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise.

The program, which is funded by the Government of Mexico, has been operating since 2016. Every year, a group of small-scale fishers from the community of San Felipe in the Upper Gulf of California undertakes seasonal ghost net removal operations in the Vaquita Refuge. Sea Shepherd provides support by recovering the nets located by the fishers, ensuring that they never find their way back into the marine ecosystem.

“Ghost nets” are abandoned fishing nets that have been discarded or lost at sea. These inactive nets pose a deadly threat by continuing to kill marine wildlife for as long as the nets remain in the ocean. Whales, turtles, dolphins, and vaquitas are all vulnerable to entanglement in these ​deserted nets.

A group of 35 local fishers, working from 17 small boats, systematically search the Vaquita Refuge in a grid pattern to locate discarded fishing gear. Following GPS coordinates, the boats drag modified hooks under the water to detect submerged nets. As the vessels move over the nets, the hooks become entangled in the fishing gear. Once a net is detected, the fishermen mark the area, and Sea Shepherd’s Sharpie moves in to retrieve the gear.

This season, the operation successfully retrieved 20 nets from the Vaquita Refuge between September 12th and October 31st, 2020.

“There are many more nets in the water than vaquitas,” said Andrea Bonilla, Sea Shepherd’s Ghost Net Project Coordinator in a statement.

Scientists estimate that only 6-19 vaquitas remain in the wild, and the primary threat to the survival of the critically endangered species is entanglement in fishing gear. The rare species of porpoise is endemic to the Upper Gulf of California, an area rife with poaching due to the illegal totoaba trade.

The Vaquita Refuge is a UNESCO-recognized and federally-protected area in which gillnet fishing is banned.

Sea Shepherd’s Sharpie remains in the Vaquita Refuge upon completion of this operation and is working with Mexican authorities to monitor the area, prevent poaching, and remove both active gillnets and ghost nets from the region.

“The last days of the Ghost Net Project turned up no nets, which means that the area has been effectively cleared of these abandoned, invisible curtains of death,” said Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd’s Director of Campaigns. “Thanks to the work of local fishermen, the Museo de la Ballena and Sharpie crew, we are starting Operation Milagro VII with a blank slate, ready to confiscate any new illegal fishing gear set to target the totoaba – and indirectly, the vaquita.”

The post Sea Shepherd Carries Out Critical Operation Retrieving Ghost Nets To Save Less Than 10 Vaquita Remaining In The Wild; The World’s Most Endangered Marine Mammal appeared first on World Animal News.

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