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Cher visits Pakistan to mark freedom for world’s loneliest elephant



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her is on her way to Pakistan to mark the new-found freedom of a beloved elephant who she campaigned to move out of captivity.

Dubbed the “world’s loneliest elephant”, Kaavan has languished at Marghazar Zoo in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad for 35 years.

Thanks to activists, including Cher, Kavaan, who lost his partner in 2012, is now being moved from captivity to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, where he will find companionship and better living conditions.

The zoo has already held a leaving party for Kavaan, who keepers say loves music. Because of security concerns, Cher’s schedule was not made public but “she is on her way”, one charity campaigner said. 

Dr Amir Khalil, head of the Four Paws mission, a Vienna-based animal welfare group that has led the charge to save Kaavan, initially bonded with the animal by singing Frank Sinatra songs to him.

For the farewell party, musicians performed in front of the animal’s enclosure, decked out with party balloons for the occasion.

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Cher has been campaigning for the elephant’s freedom 

/ Getty Images )

Kaavan has battled loneliness as well as poor living conditions. Both have taken their toll, the Four Paws spokesman said.

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A farewell karaoke party was held for Kaavan, as he waits to be transported to a sanctuary in Cambodia

/ REUTERS )

A medical examination in September showed Kaavan’s nails were cracked and overgrown — the result of years of living in an improper enclosure with flooring that damaged his feet.

“He also developed stereotypical behaviour, which means he shakes his head back and forth for hours. This is mainly because he is simply bored,” said Martin Bauer of Four Paws International.

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Amir Khalil, a veterinarian and the director of project development for Four Paws International, feeds Kavaan

/ AFP via Getty Images )

The Four Paws team carrying out Kaavan’s physical included wildlife veterinarians and experts who will accompany him on his journey to Cambodia on Sunday.

Four Paws, which often carries out animal rescue missions, has provided the medical treatment needed before Kaavan can travel.

“Thanks to Cher, but also local Pakistani activists, Kaavan’s fate made headlines around the world, and this contributed to the facilitation of his transfer,” Mr Bauer said. 

“Celebrities lending their voices to good causes are always welcomed, as they help starting public discourse and raising pressure on responsible authorities.

“Around the globe there are animal lovers, famous and not famous, and the support of every single one of them is crucial.”