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Cher Helps Free Lonely Elephant Locked Up And Chained For 26 Years In Pakistan

Cher Helps Free Lonely Elephant Locked Up And Chained For 26 Years In Pakistan

The American personality has been campaigning for the release of Kavaan, who has been dubbed Pakistan's "loneliest elephant," for the past four years.

Image Source: Instagram/Cher (L) Instagram/ftwglobal (R)

Legendary singer Cher's tireless pursuits to free a neglected elephant from an Islamabad Zoo have finally paid off. The American personality has been campaigning for the release of Kavaan, who has been dubbed Pakistan's "loneliest elephant," for the past four years. With the help of Free the Wild, an animal charity that rescues mistreated animals from captivity, which she co-founded with businessman Mark Cowne and his wife Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne the star has been fighting for Kavaan's release after hearing about his plight. Sharing the joyous news with the world, the group took to its Instagram handle and wrote: 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, it continued reading.



 

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! it concluded. The Grammy-winning singer also took to her Twitter to personally celebrate the achievement. 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, she wrote



 

According to The Week, the 33-year-old elephant was taken away from his mother when he was a mere baby. Originally from Sri Lanka, Kaavan was brought to the Murghazar Zoo in 1985 as a gift from the Sri Lankan government to the former dictator General Zia-ul-Haq. He spent most of his life in captivity but in 2002 his living conditions became worse when zookeepers chained the elephant after witnessing his increasingly violent tendencies. In 2012 his mate Saheli tragically passed away and he began showing further distress. After his mate's death, no other elephant was brought in for him and because elephants are known to be sociable creatures who need company, Kaavan was regarded as Pakistan's loneliest elephant, according to The Guardian



 

Animal rights activists in Pakistan revealed that Kaavan was clinically depressed after being grossly neglected over the years. Just last year, his keepers were suspended after they stole his food. Then a few months ago it was found that wild boars had been breaking into his enclosure and stealing his meal, leaving Kaavan severely dehydrated. When Cher learned about his sad story, she took up his case in 2016. A petition for his release was quickly launched and it garnered over 400,000 signatures on change.org. Mark Cowne also worked towards freeing the elephant from the shackles of captivity. Cowne had visited Islamabad to meet with the Islamabad zoo administration and find a way to free Kavaan.



 

On arrival, he found that Kavaan's condition was really bad. "However, after 26 years in chains, Kaavan is severely mentally damaged," he was quoted saying. After their effort received global attention, the Islamabad high court directed the government to relocate all animals in the ill-equipped Islamabad Zoo to sanctuaries within a month's time. For Kavaan specifically, a deadline of 30 days has been given to shift the elephant to a sanctuary where he can live with other elephants in a more natural setting. 

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