Singer Cher has helped rescue the ‘world’s loneliest elephant’ after decades in captivity


(CNN) — A 36-year-old overweight Asian elephant, who has spent a lot of his life languishing alone in captivity, is on his solution to a sanctuary in Cambodia — thanks partially to the efforts of American pop star Cher.

Pakistan’s solely Asian elephant has spent years in grim situations in a controversial Islamabad zoo, the place he suffered from a scarcity of train in addition to cracked and malformed nails on account of residing in an inappropriate construction.


After Kaavan’s associate died in 2012, he was dubbed the “world’s loneliest elephant” — and since 2016, Cher has been a part of an enormous social media marketing campaign to relocate him.

Earlier this yr, Islamabad’s Excessive Courtroom closed the zoo over its poor situations and gave animal welfare group 4 Paws permission to take away Kaavan, who Sri Lanka gifted to Pakistan 35 years in the past, when he was a child, according to the organization.

Kaavan on the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad on June 30, 2016.


Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Pictures

Early Monday native time in Pakistan, Free The Wild, a charity Cher co-founded, wrote on Instagram that Kaavan was being loaded onto a airplane and starting his journey to Cambodia.

Earlier than the flight, specialists from 4 Paws educated the elephant for the small enclosure and loud noises he’d expertise on the flight, utilizing bananas and different treats.

Non-profit Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary said in a Fb submit that Kaavan will now dwell in an enormous jungle enclosure, the place most of his meals shall be supplied naturally — though he’ll additionally get fruit treats to “fulfill his candy tooth.” Three different elephants dwell on the sanctuary.

Cher came upon about Kaavan from individuals on Twitter, in line with a press release from the Smithsonian Channel, which is producing a documentary on the elephant’s story.

“I believed, ‘how can I repair this? How can I save an elephant who’s been shackled to a shed for 17 years and who’s a thousand miles away?’,” Cher mentioned. “That is Free The Wild’s first massive rescue and I’m so proud.”


Forward of his journey, Cher traveled to Pakistan and serenaded Kaavan with the track “A Dream is a Want Your Coronary heart Makes.”

On Friday, after assembly Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, she tweeted her because of him “for making it doable for me to take Kaavan to Cambodia.”

A press release from the Prime Minister’s workplace mentioned former cricket star Khan had thanked Cher, and invited her to take part additional in environmental initiatives in Pakistan.


Extra reporting by Reuters

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