Kaavan is no longer lonely after meeting a female friend at the Kulen Prom Tep Wildlife Sanctuary in Oddar Meanchey province. – CWS

By Buth Sela / Khmer Times

The rumours and misinformation regarding Kaavan, the rescued elephant from Pakistan, being used to intentionally breed with other elephants has been claimed to be fake news by Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS).

According to CWS, the rumours are totally false. “That does not meet well with our philosophy or model of care. We are not interested to breed animals but rather to rescue them out of suffering and to provide a natural home for them to enjoy their lives free from fear and harm,” it said.

It said that the primary aims at CWS are to protect wildlife, forest habitat and to inspire others to good stewardship of the natural beauty of Cambodia.

“The main support of CWS has been Save Elephant Foundation Thailand. We do not receive any funds from any government bodies. Our work follows our own rules. No external group is able to use our animals for special interests,” it said.

It also said that CWS has been open to volunteers to help them work in their project and support the local community in many ways, as the construction of a school for local children and a hospital for the community.

“For Kaavan, we are honoured to share in his rescue and to be able to provide a true home for him. Kaavan has passed through so much tragedy and sadness in his life. We will do our best to bring his spirit back to him,” it added. “As we continue with the construction and provision of his forest home, Kaavan is before our watchful eye daily. We are very happy to see his changes, but it will take a long time to heal. Kaavan will no longer be exploited by anyone in any way, but with his feet solidly on the land of CWS, he will be safe and free to explore what it means to be a bull elephant.”

Kaavan having mud and sand bath at the Kulen Prom Tep Wildlife Sanctuary in Oddar Meanchey province. CWS

Pedro Vella, representative of CWS told Khmer Times that there is absolutely no truth in the story about intentions to breed Kaavan or any rescued animals under their care.

He said that the interaction between Kaavan and other female elephants will not occur unless the females show a strong desire to be with him. Presently, they are not.

“We are currently building his large jungle enclosure, but it is a huge endeavour and will take an estimated two to three months. When it is complete and if the females wish to join him then they will have the opportunity to do so, and if nature provides a baby from the encounter then we will be glad to provide [support]. The baby will stay with his or her mother as they would in the wild,” Pedro said.

He said that Kaavan is currently fit and healthy, though his feet may need care in the future, there is no need for immediate concern.

Neth Pheaktra, spokesman of Ministry of Environment, declined to comment. He said that it’s just rumoured.