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Two elephants separated by fence. Trunks reaching out to each other.
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Top Photo: Kaavan, left, meets a new friend. Photo source: Four Paws via AP

Lonely Elephant Finally Gets Home 

Kaavan, a 36-year old elephant who has been called the world’s loneliest elephant, has arrived to start his new life at a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia thanks to the help and serious determination of a team of people.

Kaavan lived in a Pakistani zoo for the last 35 years in a small enclosure that lacked the natural environment he needed, and he has been without a companion for the last eight years.

In 2016, an unlikely ALLY learned about Kaavan’s story: Cher. The Oscar-winning actress and singer is also the co-founder of a wildlife protection charity called Free the Wild. Cher was certainly not the first to advocate for a new life for Kaavan, but her charity’s involvement helped lead to a court order earlier this year closing the zoo and ordering all animals at the zoo to be relocated, including Kaavan.

Along with U.S. businessman Eric Margolis and the group Four Paws International, Cher’s charity helped pay for Kaavan’s relocation.

A team of vets and experts from Four Paws spent months in Pakistan, getting Kaavan ready for his move. The head of the Four Paws International team, Dr. Amir Khalil, found an unlikely way to connect with him: music.

“My initial plan was just to examine Kaavan and work on making him fit for travel, but for some reason he seemed to like my voice,” said Khalil to CBS News. Khalil said he spent hours standing at the back of Kaavan’s enclosure trying to gain his trust. It turns out that Kaavan was a big fan of Frank Sinatra songs and Khalil’s voice.

The bond allowed Khalil to lead Kaavan into the specially-designed crate for his more than seven- hour flight aboard a cargo plane to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary in Siem Reap. 

Before his departure, Kaavan got to meet Cher, who offered her elephant friend a bite to eat and a song for the music-loving pachyderm.

Kaavan is in a controlled environment for the first month, but shortly after arriving he used his trunk to reach out and tentatively greet a fellow elephant for the first time in eight years. After the first month, he will be free to roam the 25,000-acre sanctuary and enjoy his new life with other elephants.

Food Program’s Work Wins Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 was awarded to an organization, the World Food Programme. With this year’s award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to turn the eyes of the world towards the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger, according to the announcement. 

The Nobel Committee recognized the World Food Programme for “its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.”

The World Food Programme is part of the United Nations. It was created as an experimental program in 1961 at the request of U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. WFP provides aid during emergencies and also works with communities to build food security and improve nutrition.

In 2019, 135 million people suffered from ACUTE hunger, and the WFP assisted 97 million people in 88 countries. The coronavirus pandemic has increased food insecurity for people in the U.S. and around the world this year. According to the Nobel Committee, the world is in danger of experiencing a hunger crisis of inconceivable proportions if the World Food Programme and other food assistance organizations do not receive support.

In Arizona, St. Mary’s Food Bank distributes food to shelters and food pantries around the state. St. Mary’s Food Bank was founded in 1967 and is one of the largest food banks in the country! You can donate non-perishable food at 2831 N. 31st Ave. in Phoenix or 13050 W. Elm St. in Surprise. Or make an online donation at www.firstfoodbank.org.

Edition: 
Phoenix
Tucson
Issue: 
December 2020