Wildlife on Board: DHL Safely Relocates the World Loneliest Elephant


Wildlife on Board: DHL Safely Relocates the World Loneliest Elephant

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  • The carefully planned temperature-controlled multimodal journey of Kaavan started from Islamabad and ended in a sanctuary in Cambodia
  • he logistics leader worked with global animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS and veterinary specialists to ensure a safe and comfortable ride for the elephant
  • First-ever adult elephant that was flown out of Pakistan is now safe and sound in his new home

SINGAPORE – 7 December 2020 – 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 authorization, for the transportation of Kaavan from his previous home at the Marghazar Zoo.

Weighing over four tons and at more than three meters in height, Kaavan boarded the plane on 30 November 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 customized crate, in full compliance with the International Air Transport Association’s 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 organization 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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