Cher visits Pakistan to help save the ‘world’s loneliest elephant’

December 19, 2020
Animal
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She believes in life in the wild.

Pop goddess Cher met with the prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, on Friday, to help save Kaavan — known as “the world’s loneliest elephant.”

The singer and Oscar-winning actress was celebrating the departure of Kaavan, who’ll soon leave a Pakistani zoo for an animal sanctuary in Cambodia.

“Just came from meeting to thank Prime Minister Imran Kahn for making it possible for me to take Kaavan to Cambodia,” the 74-year-old Grammy Award-winner tweeted. “Kaavan will be able to leave for Cambodia on the 29.”

Four Paws International, an animal welfare organization, has been trying to rescue Kaavan since 2016.

Cher, a co-founder of the Free The Wild foundation, an international charity created “to overcome the mistreatment of wild animals in captivity,” also joined the efforts, and she has used her celebrity status to bring attention to the issue.

Kaavan came to Pakistan in 1985 as a gift from Sri Lanka — and has spent the last 35 years in captivity.

After he lost his partner in 2012, he started gaining weight and now suffers from behavioral issues, shaking his head back and forth for hours. A team of veterinarians has attributed the behavior to his isolation.

Earlier this year, Pakistan’s high court ordered the closure of Marghazar Zoo in the capital of Islamabad — where Kaavan has lived for much of his life — due to its terrible living conditions.

In September, after a veterinarian examination, Four Paws determined that the elephant needed to go through a long-term foot care program, which cannot be performed in Marghazar Zoo.

“Due to malnutrition and lack of physical exercise Kaavan shows visible signs of obesity. Also, his nails are cracked and malformed which can be attributed to the inappropriate flooring and structure of his enclosure,” Dr. Amir Khalil, a Four Paws veterinarian, said in a statement.

Since then, the organization has been working with the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board to get Kaavan ready to be relocated.

“The Prime Minister observed that it was indeed a happy moment for all of us that after giving joy and happiness to the people of Islamabad and Pakistan for about 35 years, Kaavan will now be able to retire with other elephants in a specialized sanctuary in Cambodia,” Khan’s office tweeted.

Cher also “offered her support for furthering the green initiatives through her organization “Free the Wild” (@ftwglobal) and thanked the Prime Minister,” according to his office.

A documentary following Cher in her quest to send the “world’s loneliest elephant” to a new home was announced earlier this month. “Cher’s Elephant Airlift” is set to air in 2021 on the Smithsonian Channel.

Story Source: https://www.nydailynews.com/snyde/ny-cher-visits-pakistan-kaavan-elephant-worlds-loneliest-cambodia-20201127-cwodt4tyofg45ayfrs5l43r7su-story.html

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