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Tuesday Dec 01 2020

In pictures: Kaavan explores new home in Cambodia, makes contact with another elephant

Kaavan walks around exploring his new home in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in Preah Vihear Province of Cambodia, December 1, 2020. Twitter/Pheaktra Neth/via

Kaavan, now the formerly "world's loneliest elephant", has after eight long years made contact with another of his species, international media reports confirmed, a day after the giant arrived in Cambodia from Pakistan.

Pheaktra Neth offers a watermelon to Kaavan after the elephant arrives in Cambodia, December 1, 2020. Twitter/Pheaktra Neth/via

The worldwide famous elephant was shifted a day earlier from Islamabad's Marghazar Zoo to the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the Preah Vihear province of Cambodia after international animal rights activists campaigned for him to be transferred to a better environment.

Popular American singer Cher was also among the loudest voices campaigning for his freedom.

Check out pictures of Kaavan enjoying his new life in Cambodia below!

Pheaktra Neth, the spokesperson for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), shared pictures of "a very happy #Kaavan" on his Twitter profile.

"I myself also happy to see him in form, good health and active, specially start quickly to socializing with beautiful female elephants," he said.

Kaavan has never interacted with any of his kind since 2012 when his partner passed away in Islamabad.

A video shared on social media also showed Kaavan 'meeting' a tyre.

Read more: After 35 years, Kaavan finds freedom in Cambodia

Earlier, in a picture released on social media, Kaavan can be seen making contact with another elephant with his trunk. The 36-year-old, 9,000lb elephant was welcomed with open arms in Cambodia when his plane landed.

Kaavan finally makes contact with another elephant after 8 long years in Cambodia sanctuary. Twitter/Four PAWS/via

Once Kaavan's metal crate in which he traveled from Pakistan to Cambodia was aboard, he enjoyed 440lbs of in-flight snacks, while at his new home, activists, government officials, and Cher waited for him with food and a lotus flower "symbolizing peace, prosperity".

Vet Amir Khalil, who accompanied Kaavan on the trip, said he was not stressed during the flight and spent most of it eating and sleeping. "He behaves like a frequent flier.

"The flight was uneventful, which is all you can ask for when you transfer an elephant," the vet had said.

The elephants had been coached by vets and experts for nearly three months on how to enter the metal crate in which he travelled. This was done so Kaavan became familiar with the crate and wasn't distressed during when the time came for him to fly to the Cambodian sanctuary.

Kaavan was gifted by the government of Sri Lanka to Pakistan in 1985. Saheli, the elephant that came to accompany him, died in 2012, leaving him all alone.

Dr Amir Khalil, head of project development at FOUR PAWS International, walks beside Kaavan, an elephant at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan. REUTERS/Saiyna Bashir

Kaavan was chained over "violent behaviour" in 2002. Activists dubbed him the “world’s loneliest elephant” after his plight gained international attention and the elephant was diagnosed as emotionally and physically unstable.

He was later unchained the same year, with activists calling for his release from the zoo in Pakistan. Veterinarians had also said that the animal was malnourished and overweight.