Pakistan Agrees to Free Lonely Elephant Who Spent Years in Chains After Singer Cher Helps

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Singer Cher celebrated after hearing a Pakistani court agreed to release Kaavan, the lonely elephant at Islamabad Zoo, and bring him to a “suitable sanctuary.”

The 74-year-old singer celebrated the news on Friday when she described this as “one of the greatest moments” of her life, according to AFP.

 

“We have just heard from Pakistan High Court Kaavan is free,” Cher wrote in one of her tweets.

Wildlife officials were ordered by the Islamabad High Court to work with Sri Lanka to find Kaavan a “suitable sanctuary” within 30 days, according to Friends of Islamabad Zoo.

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Kaavan, an Asian elephant originally from Sri Lanka, arrived in the Islamabad Zoo in 1985 when he was only 1, AFP reported in 2016 via NDTV. Outrage sparked after it was revealed that he was being chained for hours and lacked shelter from harsh weather.

Safwan Shahab Ahmad of the Pakistan Wildlife Foundation told the publication in 2016 that the elephant’s repeated head bobbing demonstrates “a kind of mental illness.”

A petition was started to pressure the Pakistani government to put Kaavan into a sanctuary. It received over 400,000 supporters before the petition was closed.

However, officials said that Kaavan only needed a new mate since his previous one died in 2012. But experts said that even if the long-promised mate arrives, Kaavan’s future doesn’t seem bright without a better habitat.

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Cher, who has been advocating for Kaavan’s release, thanked the Pakistani government.

Feature Image Screenshot via BBC News

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