THE world's "loneliest elephant" has been pictured tenderly touching trunks with a female for the first time in eight years after Cher's rescue mission.

The lonely elephant, named Kaavan, was languishing alone in a Pakistan zoo for years – but has now been relocated to a new sanctuary in Cambodia.



The 36-year-old animal had been alone, without proper socialisation with his species, since his partner died in 2012.

But the 9000lb elephant is now living in a wildlife sanctuary – where he was pictured making contact and holding trunks with his fellow female residents.

He made the most of his first day of freedom, extending his trunk from behind the white posts to reach out and touch his new pal.

The Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, where Kaavan spent 35 years, was ordered to close by Pakistan's high court in May.

On Sunday, the elephant took a 10-hour flight to Cambodia before a further five-hour truck journey to the city of Siem Reap, where the new sanctuary is located.

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 said: "He behaves like a frequent flier.

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

This comes just days after pop queen Cher came face-to-face with Kaavan after saving him from a life of suffering following a five-year campaign.

I Got You Babe singer Cher, 74, who co-founded charity Free The Wild, said as she met him for the first time: “This is the most wonderful moment and more than I could ever have expected.

“I am so excited that after five years of work, we now have Kavaan travelling to Cambodia.

“I am very grateful for all the support of everyone who joined us on this journey.”

The elephant arrived as a calf in 1985 and had since been malnourished in horrific conditions.

His partner died in 2012 but he is being flown to join three females at a Cambodia sanctuary.

The zoo in Islamabad was closed in May, leaving him in the care of volunteers until his move.

Asian Elephants can live up to 80 years so Kavaan can now look forward to decades of peace.




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