The iconic singer and actress Cher is in Pakistan to celebrate the departure of Kaavan, dubbed the “loneliest elephant in the world”, who will soon leave the Pakistani Zoo for better conditions after years of lobbying by animal rights groups and activists.
Due to security concerns, Cher’s schedule was not published. However, she met with Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday and was expected to visit Kaavan later in the trip, according to the prime minister’s office. Khan’s office released a video in which the singer is sitting with the prime minister outside the vast territory of Khan’s residence.
Kaavan is due to leave for a shrine in Cambodia on Sunday, said Martin Bauer, a spokesman for Four Paws International, a global animal welfare group that has led the Kaavan rescue charge since 201
The animal has been debilitated at the zoo for 35 years, most of those years in chains, and lost its mate in 2012. She died after an infection turned into gangrene and her body lay next to Kaavan for several years. days before it was removed, said Dr. Amir Khalil, a four-legged veterinarian. Khalil said that Kaavan was heartbroken after the death of his partner.
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Activists called Kaavan “the loneliest elephant in the world” after his misfortune gained international attention and the unfortunate elephant was diagnosed with both emotional and physical damage.
Khalil has treated the elephant’s many wounds and ailments over the past three months. Kaavan has been diagnosed by veterinarians as overweight and malnourished, and also suffers from behavioral problems due to his isolation.
Cher took over Caavan’s cause and voted loudly for his resettlement. Four paws, which often carry out animal rescue missions, will accompany Kaavan to the sanctuary.
In a tweet after meeting with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Cher said he thanked Khan “for allowing me to take Kaavan to Cambodia.” She tweeted that she was making a documentary about Kaavan and said, “I think the documentary will be heartfelt.”
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Even after being in Cambodia, Kaavan will need years of physical and even psychological help, Bauer said.
Due to horrific living conditions accused of systematic negligence, Pakistan’s Supreme Court in May ordered the closure of the Margazar Zoo in the capital, Islamabad, where Kaawan has lived for most of his life.
A medical examination in September revealed that Kaavan’s nails were cracked and overgrown, the result of years of living in an inappropriate pavement that damaged his feet.
The elephant also developed behaviors, including shaking his head back and forth for hours, which the medical team of veterinarians and wildlife experts blamed for his complete boredom.
For the past three months, a Four Paws team, including veterinarian Khalil and the Islamabad Wildlife Board, has been preparing Kaavan to leave.
Khalil first met Kaavan in 2016 and returned to the zoo in August, where he was saddened by the animal’s condition. Khalil spent the last three months trying to prepare him for his trip to Cambodia.
Kaavan was on a fruit and vegetable diet and lost half a ton (450 kilograms), he said. Before that, Kaavan ate 250 kilograms of pure sugar cane every day, occasionally fruits and vegetables.
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The veterinarian said this was the first time in 30 years that he had developed a strong emotional connection with a rescue animal. Now, “the loneliest elephant in the world” is tormented when he hears Khalil’s voice. “
“I was always moving, so I never allowed myself to develop emotional attachment,” but with Kaavan he couldn’t resist, Khalil said. He said he had pampered and defended him for the past three months, urging him to lose weight, as well as being less capricious and calmer so he could travel to Cambodia.
Khalil said there were many elephants in the sanctuary, but three female elephants in particular awaited Kaavan’s arrival. Khalil joked that Kaavan might just find a girlfriend there.
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Bauer welcomed the powerful impact of celebrity voices on animal rights.
“Celebrities who give their voices to good causes are always welcome, as they help to start a public discourse and increase the pressure on the responsible authorities,” he said.