Cher in Pakistan to send off elephant she worked to free


Kaavan, is leaving a tiny enclosure in a Pakistan horror zoo for a new life at a Cambodian sanctuary after years of campaigning by animal rights activists. He was diagnosed by veterinarians as both overweight and malnourished earlier this year, and also suffers behavioral issues.

He said it was indeed satisfying to note that after giving joy and happiness to the people of Islamabad and Pakistan for about 35 years, Kaavan - the elephant would now be able to retire with other elephants in a specialized sanctuary in Cambodia.

Four Paws International, an animal welfare organization, has been trying to rescue Kaavan since 2016.

Earlier this year Pakistan's high court ordered the closure of Marghazar Zoo in the capital of Islamabad - where Kaavan has lived for much of his life - due to its awful living conditions.

On Tuesday, a celebration was held for Kaavan - an overweight, 35-year-old bull elephant - whose plight has drawn worldwide condemnation and highlighted the woeful state of Marghazar Zoo. Khalil said Kaavan was heartbroken after his partner died.

Iconic singer and actress Cher visited Pakistan on Friday to celebrate the departure of Kaavan, above, dubbed the "world's loneliest elephant".

American singer Cher took up Kaavan's cause and has been a loud voice advocating for his resettlement.

Because of the abysmal living conditions blamed on systemic negligence, Pakistan's high court in May ordered the closure of Marghazar Zoo in the capital of Islamabad, where Kaavan has lived for much of his life.

Volunteers working with Kaavan say the elephant responds well to music and singing, and Cher is expected to belt out a song or two for the elephant before he departs Islamabad.

Prime Minister Khan "thanked Cher for her campaign and role in this regard", according to his office.

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"An elephant transfer by plane on this scale I think has never happened before, so we are writing history here", he told NPR.

Bauer on Friday said that "everything is going according to plan" for Kaavan. "And yes, all is fine and it looks very promising that we can leave Pakistan on Sunday".

In November, Four Paws posted a picture of Kaavan checking out his new training crate, which would bring him to his new home.

Experts have trained Kaavan to enter a large metal crate that will be used to transport the animal to the airport.

Bauer said he will remain conscious for the entire 10-hour flight, with a group of veterinarians also with him. After landing, it's an hour and a half drive to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary in the country's northwest.

Dr Khalil said there are many elephants at the sanctuary but in particular three female elephants are awaiting Kaavan's arrival, joking that Kaavan might just find a girlfriend there.

The court noted that the president is reported to have said that the jurisprudence of this Court was in line with the Islamic traditions of caring for animals and keeping them in an environment best suited to them.

"The goal is to socialise him".

"Kaavan" has become a symbol for the display of empathy and the need for humans to acknowledge that sentient animal species have natural rights and that they can not be subjected to unnecessary pain and suffering.