Dr. Amir Khalil is no stranger to helping animals out of really bad situations. The 55-year-old Egyptian-born veterinarian, who works with the Vienna-based animal welfare group Four Paws International, has been rescuing animals from crumbling zoos and conflict zones such as Syria and the Gaza Strip for more than two decades.
“We go to places where the logic doesn’t exist,” Khalil told NPR last year. “The government doesn’t exist. No one cares. And where no one will believe you are coming to save animals.”
Now he can add moving an elephant by plane between countries during a deadly global pandemic to his storied résumé. Khalil led the team that this week transferred a 37-year-old male Asian elephant named Kaavan from confinement in a decrepit zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan, to a conservation park in Cambodia.