When most of us think about Cher, we think about her ability to entertain. If you’ve ever had an opportunity to see one of her concerts, you realize just how entertaining she can be.
As it turns out, however, she also has a big heart for animals. That was seen when she helped to free a neglected elephant from an Islamabad Zoo. The elephant is known as the “loneliest elephant” in Pakistan has been chained and kept in captivity for some 26 years.
Cher worked along with the help of Free the Wild, an organization that helps to rescue animals that are in captivity and mistreated. They have been fighting for the release of Kavaan, the elephant, for many years. After Cher heard about the problem, she jumped on board.
The group went on Instagram and wrote the following message: “This week, you won’t find a super close-up animal puzzle, but you will find celebration! After what seems to have been a never-ending struggle we can, at last, tell you that Kaavan the elephant is definitely to be freed 🐘 ”
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This week, you won’t find a super close-up animal puzzle, but you will find celebration! After what seems to have been a never-ending struggle we can, at last, tell you that Kaavan the elephant is definitely to be freed 🐘 Having jumped through every hoop and endless meetings with dozens of officials in Islamabad, our amazing lawyer, Mr Owais Awan found a legal means to charge Islamabad Zoo for violations to animal welfare and took the Zoo to court. We won! Not only Kaavan, but over 800 other animals that were suffering too are all being released as part of the agreement. We are all so grateful for the amazing support of Cher, the exceptional work of Owais, Jen, Sagan, Anika and our team on the ground in Pakistan – Umme and Umer. Thank you all for your tremendous support! If it weren’t for your signatures on our petitions and kind donations, Kaavan may very well have died in that death camp of a zoo. We are working on plans now to move Kaavan and find sanctuaries for the other animals. What an amazing week! Have a great weekend and check back soon for further updates! ❤️ FTW #ftw #freethewild #news #freekaavan #kaavan #liberty #freedom
Officials in Islamabad were subjected to many meetings and the organization did what they could to keep things on the up-and-up. They also had a lawyer, Mr Owais Awan, who was able to find a way to free the elephant legally. It happened after the zoo was charged with animal welfare violations and taken to court.
It wasn’t only the elephant that was freed, more than 800 other animals that were suffering as well were released.
They continued: “Thank you all for your tremendous support! If it weren’t for your signatures on our petitions and kind donations, Kaavan may very well have died in that death camp of a zoo. We are working on plans now to move Kaavan and find sanctuaries for the other animals. What an amazing week!”
Cher also spoke about the achievement on Twitter, saying: “THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST MOMENTS OF MY LIFE. CAN’T STOP,BEING SICK 2 MY STOMACH.(Ate [cake] in The night & Was SOOOO Sick, Still am.Can you O.D from too much [cake]) BUT KAAVAN IS FREE. [Tears rolling] DOWN MY CHEEKS, BUT HES FREE,& @markcowne DID IT .GINA, JEN.”
THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST MOMENTS OF MY LIFE.
CANT STOP😭,🥰,BEING SICK 2 MY STOMACH.(Ate🎂in The night & Was SOOOO Sick,Still am.Can you O.D from too much🎂)⁉️
BUT🐘KAAVAN IS FREE🙏🏻
😭DOWN MY CHEEKS,BUT HES FREE,& @markcowne 🕊DID IT🙌🏻.GINA,👑JEN👑👏🏻
— Cher (@cher) May 21, 2020
The Week reported that the elephant was 33 years old and was only a baby when taken from his mother. Kaavan originally was from Sri Lanka but was brought to the zoo in 1985 as a gift from the government. For most of his life, he was in captivity, but things got worse in 2002 when he was chained after being seen showing violent tendencies.
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Saheli was his mate who passed away in 2012 and that caused further distress. No other elephant was brought in to care for his need for social company. According to The Guardian, he was the loneliest elephant in Pakistan.
In Pakistan, animal rights activists noted how depressed the elephant was after being so neglected for years. His keepers got suspended last year after stealing food from the elephant. It was also discovered that wild boars were breaking into the enclosure and taking more food, causing him to be dehydrated.
After Cher heard about the elephant, she got involved in 2016. A petition was launched quickly and received over 400,000 signatures on change.org. Mark Crowne was also working for helping the elephant to get freed from captivity.
After arriving, he found out how bad things were for the elephant. “However, after 26 years in chains, Kaavan is severely mentally damaged,” he said.
The Islamabad high court told the government they had to relocate the animals to sanctuaries within a month. This included specific instruction for Kavaan, allowing him to be moved to a sanctuary where he could live out the rest of his life with other elephants.
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