Kaavan, 'world's loneliest elephant', released from captivity, courtesy Cher
Pop legend Cher has proved how humanity is still alive in today's cut-throat competitive world. And this time, it's not any emotional song rendered by her but the efforts she put in to rescue Kaavan, the "world's loneliest elephant" from Islamabad zoo (which is closing down) that has won all hearts. The jumbo was shifted to Cambodia, and the 74-year-old personally monitored the process.
He was gifted to Pakistan by Sri Lankan Government
Kaavan was a year old when the Sri Lankan Government gifted him to Pakistan in the 1980s and he was allotted a mere half-acre space in the Marghazar zoo. He spent a huge chunk of his life with his partner, a female elephant named Saheli, who died in 2012. After her demise, Kaavan underwent a radical change in personality and became angry and obese.
Post his partner's demise, Kaavan's life was torturous, lonely
Kaavan, who tolerated bull hook pokes by zoo officials to entertain the crowd and earn cash for the zoo, stayed in that dismal condition for 35 years! Out of frustration, he used to swing his head sideways, which zoo officials misread as a dance suitable for entertaining those who visited, noted Egyptian veterinarian and project development director (Four Paws International) Dr. Amir Khalil.
After court ordered zoo shutdown, Twitter campaign on him re-started
In May, a Pakistani court ordered the zoo to be shut and all animals be shifted since their upkeep was abysmal. This re-started a Twitter campaign on Kaavan, which was amplified by Cher, who has been fighting for his freedom since 2016. Along with wildlife lover and talent agency boss Mark Cowne, she formed Free The Wild. Four Paws joined them to free Kaavan.
In Cambodia, Kaavan has already made a friend
Cher also had met Pakistan PM Imran Khan, who expressed gratitude for her concern and expedited the elephant's relocation to Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia, where he has already made a pal. "First contact with an elephant in eight years, a huge moment," celebrated Martin Bauer, spokesman, Four Paws. His journey will now be made into a Smithsonian Channel documentary, scheduled for 2021 release.
The journey, a Smithsonian documentary, to release in 2021
🐘Kaavan's journey to freedom from captivity in Islamabad to Cambodia will be a 2021 @SmithsonianChan documentary ❤️ Help us build Kaavan's forever home 🏡 https://t.co/dzdl4Ew4gn 🙏🏻@ftwglobal #KaavansJourney pic.twitter.com/iTxdzfndNB— Cher (@cher) November 27, 2020