American singer, Cher praises Pakistan to free chained elephant ‘Kaavan’

Cher expressed joy on the landmark decision. “ONE OF THE GREATEST MOMENTS OF MY LIFE” tweeted Cher. The American singer was supporting the campaign to release Kaavan from the zoo.

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American singer, Cher thanked the Pakistan government for releasing elephant Kaavan from the Islamabad Zoo.

In a landmark decision, Islamabad High Court ordered the release of Kaavan from Islamabad Zoo. Also, it has ordered to find a suitable animal sanctuary for Kaavan in Sri Lanka in 30 days, informed the group-Friends of Islamabad. This group claims to work for animal welfare at the zoo.

Cher expressed joy on the landmark decision. “ONE OF THE GREATEST MOMENTS OF MY LIFE” tweeted Cher. The American singer was supporting the campaign to release Kaavan from the zoo.

“WE HAVE JUST HEARD FROM PAKISTAN HIGH COURT KAAVAN IS FREE,” Cher tweeted, adding a string of emojis and saying she felt “SICK”.

Kaavan-the lonely elephant

Kaavan is an Asian elephant. He came to Islamabad Zoo when he was one-year-old from Sri Lanka in 1985. The zoo administration held him in chains due to his violent behavior in 2002. But the administration freed him later after the outcry.

He got a mate, Saheli in 1990 from Sri Lanka. But she died in 2012. In 2015 reports emerged that zoo administration has chained him again.

Picture of Kaavan with lack of facilities- no adequate shelter at the Islamabad Zoo-where temperatures in summer soar to above 40 degrees Celsius, attracted the attention of animal lovers from across the world. Moreover, the pictures showed the zoo administration did not provide Kaavan a clean pond to play. Such poor living conditions and habitat for Kaavan at the zoo spurred backlash from the civil society.

They demanded the immediate release of Kaavan in 2015. Scores of people signed a petition and sent it to Zoo administration and the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

However, a second petition with over 200,000 signatures was sent to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

In 2016, a wildlife expert in Pakistan informed that Kaavan has developed serious mental illness. His behavior including bobbing his head showed signs of distress. But, back in 2016-Zoo management repudiated the outrage on the mistreatment of the elephant. They argued that they have not chained him and that he just needs a new partner.

Read more: Animals are dying in Pakistan’s zoos & no one cares

But experts added that despite a new partner his future is uncertain unless he gets a healthy habitat.

Cher joined calls to release elephant

In 2016, Cher sent her representatives to Islamabad zoo to check the condition of Kaavan. Reports circulating on social media back then stated that Kaavan has spent 27 years in chain out of a total of 29 years in a zoo. Hence, her representative, Mark Cowne, visited the zoo to check on Kaavan.

Read more:Pakistan takes steps to protect its Snow Leopard

“Mark got Kaavan Water, Shade & Unchained. MARK IS TRYING EVERYTHING TO FREE HIM,” Cher tweeted after Cowne visited the zoo.

Kaavan’s caretaker said to Mark they have not heard of Cher or her songs. But they are grateful for her support for the release of Kaavan. Also they said they hope, Cher’s support for Kaavan will change things for him.

Now, Cher is delighted and happy about the release of Kaavan. She thanked the Pakistani government in a series of tweets last night on Thursday.


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