In an interview with CNN, American singer Cher spoke about her experience of visiting Pakistan to release Kaavan the elephant. Cher told the host that Kaavan first came to her notice on Twitter, where Twitter users were tagging her with the hashtag #FreeKaavan. The singer expressed that she was reluctant to come to Pakistan at first and she was not sure how she would get the job done.
“I thought I’m just an entertainer, how am I gonna go to Pakistan and free an elephant? We had to work with 2 administrations and when Imran [Khan] came in, everything got much easier,” the singer said. Cher has been working to free Kaavan for three years and she said she was determined to not stop until the elephant was freed. She also told the host how welcoming the Pakistani people were. The singer further described how happy Kaavan was once it got to the wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia.
"I thought I'm just an entertainer, how am I gonna go to Pakistan and free an elephant? We had to work with 2 administrations and when Imran [Khan] came in, everything got much easier." – @cher sharing her experience on advocacy for #Kaavan ‘s release.
— PTI (@PTIofficial) December 16, 2020
Cher met Prime Minister Imran Khan at Islamabad during her visit to Pakistan. PM Imran Khan appreciated her efforts for retiring elephant Kaavan to a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia, where he will be provided a better habitat.
PM Khan also invited the American singer to participate and contribute towards the current government’s efforts for the conservation of protected areas across Pakistan, to which she kindly agreed.
In the conversation with Cher, Khan expressed relief that elephant Kaavan, after living for 35 years in Islamabad’s Zoo will retire with other elephants in a special animal sanctuary. Cher appreciated the extraordinary initiatives like the “Protected Areas Initiative” and “10 billion Tree Tsunami” commenced by the PTI-led federal government for the protection of ecology and mitigate the adverse impact of climate change in Pakistan.
— Prime Minister's Office (@PakPMO) November 27, 2020
Later Cher took to social media and informed her followers about her meeting with PM Khan. She spoke highly of him in her tweet. The video of the meeting between Khan and Cher was shared on social media. In her tweet, she hinted at producing a documentary of transporting Kaavan from Pakistan to Cambodia.
The singer arrived in Islamabad on 27th November to what she said would be a life-time experience to see Kaavan flying to Cambodia.
“Can’t wait to sing to him on way to Cambodia,” said Cher in a Twitter statement.
“AHHH KAAVAN’S TRAVELING CRATE & HOME WHEN HE GETS TO CAMBODIA. It’s LIKE A DOG CRATE. A VERY HUGE DOG CRATE. IN BEGINNING IT WILL MAKE HIM FEEL-SAFE & COMFORTABLE,” said Cher in a tweet.
“Just saw Kaavan made a little Video. He’s SO PRECIOUS. I Will SOB WHEN I SEE HIM 4 THE FIRST TIME Maybe I’ll need a Take 2. IM STARTING TO GET SO EXCITED,” she said in a tweet on November 15th.
— Faisal Javed Khan (@FaisalJavedKhan) November 27, 2020
Islamabad Zoo gave a farewell party to Kaavan which was attended by the public and government officials. With music, treats, and balloons, friends of Pakistan’s only Asian elephant threw a farewell party for the creature ahead of its relocation to Cambodia following years of campaigning by animal rights activists.
The plight of Kaavan, an overweight, 35-year-old bull elephant, had drawn international condemnation and highlighted the woeful state of Islamabad’s zoo, where conditions are so bad that a judge in May ordered all the animals to be moved.