Renowned pop star and animal rights activist Cher will be visiting Pakistan later this week to see off Kaavan the elephant, who is set to be relocated to Cambodia, reported Reuters.
After years of campaigning by animal rights advocates and Cher to rescue him from grim conditions with no companion, Kaavan is to be airlifted to an elephant sanctuary on Sunday. He was serenaded by officials and well-wishers who gathered at Islamabad Zoo on Monday for a farewell party for him.
وائلڈ لائف مینجمنٹ بورڈ جانوروں کے حقوق کے تحفظ کیلئے متعلقہ قوانین پر عملدرآمد یقینی بنائے، صدر عارف علوی
وزارتِ ماحولیاتی تبدیلی مارگلہ ہلز نیشنل پارک کی نگہداشت کیلئے مزید اقدامات اٹھائے، صدر عارف علوی pic.twitter.com/VYgk6Dnz0t
— The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) November 24, 2020
Marion Lombard, spokeswoman for the animal rescue organisation Four Paws said that though it was never easy to move a wild animal weighing 4.8 tonnes, Kaavan was responding well to training and was ready to leave.
“We decided to organise an event to give the opportunity to the people of Pakistan and the government to say goodbye to Kaavan, before his new life in Cambodia. So we want to wish him a happy retirement,” she said.
Cher’s due to arrive in Islamabad later in the week to finally meet the elephant she had worked for years to rescue and see him off.
Kaavan, who was given to Pakistan by Sri Lanka in the 1985, had been kept chained in Islamabad’s Marghazar Zoo, specially lonely since his only companion died in 2012.
Cher first became aware of Kavaan’s plight when pictures of the elephant in chains with only a dilapidated shed for shelter and a small, dirty pond to play in spread on social media back in 2016.
Kaavan walking into his crate. He’s used to it noe pic.twitter.com/6sdF3aMvBh
— Cher (@cher) November 9, 2020
She then launched an international campaign to help elephants in captivity, resulting in Kaavan’s rescue from the zoo.
Kaavan will be airlifted to Cambodia after training for weeks with international specialists armed with treats such as bananas to get him used to the small enclosure and loud noises of the 10-hour flight.