Cher, American singer, turned out to be a fan of Imran Khan

Cher said she always believed Imran Khan is kind and a gentle soul. She said she admired Imran Khan from his cricketing days and thanked him for his support in the release of elephant Kaavan.

Cher Imran Khan

American singer Cher turned out to be a fan of Prime Minister Imran Khan. In her latest tweet, the overjoyed singer thanked Imran Khan for helping her free elephant Kaavan from Islamabad Zoo. Cher said she admired Imran Khan from his cricketing days.

Cher said she always believed Imran Khan is kind and a gentle soul. She also appreciated the support of Pakistani ministers. These ministers helped in the release of the elephant ‘Kaavan’ from the Islamabad Zoo.

Cher mentioned Minister for Climate Change, Zartaj Gul Wazir, Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, and Special Assistant to PM Khan for Overseas Pakistanis Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari.

She thanked these ministers for extending support to her animal welfare organization, Free The Wild. The organization works-to release wild animals from captivity and stop animal trafficking. It educates the world about the importance of wildlife. FTW works with and provides financial support to, other organizations including World Wildlife Fund, Four Paws, the Global Sanctuary for Elephants, the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, Animal Welfare Worldwide.

Cher thanked Imran Khan and government earlier

She thanked the Pakistan government for the release of elephant Kaavan. In a landmark decision, Islamabad High Court ordered the release of Kaavan from Islamabad Zoo. It asked to find a suitable animal sanctuary for Kaavan in Sri Lanka in 30 days.

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, invited criticism from animal lovers. Moreover, the pictures showed the administration did not provide Kaavan a clean pond to play. Hence, the pictures spurred backlash from civil society.

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

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

Cher joined calls to release the 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

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.

Abysmal conditions of animals in Pakistani zoos

A report published in 2018 claims animals in zoo are dying due to carelessness and sheer negligence.It exposed the mismanagement of the provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As it claims that over 30 animals died in the Peshawar Zoo after inauguration by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak in February 2018.

The report says that more than 30 species of bird and a Nilgai have died in the zoo because of respiratory illnesses and the Zoo lacks any laboratory for inspecting the routine illnesses of animals.

Besides the poor health facilities available for animals, the infrastructure was also exposed as the committee found that a deer lost his life after suffering a severe head injury due to its cage. Moreover, a monkey succumbed to injuries as a wolf had entered into its cage while a snow leopard breathed his last due to a heart attack.

Three Bengal tigers died due to blood parasitic disease. Although the facilities in Lahore are much better and advanced than in Peshawar, even then numerous animals could not be saved. In November, a male cheetah, imported from South-Africa, passed away after spending just 30 days at the zoo, due to diarrhea.

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