Cher is making her way to Pakistan to help save Kaavan, the “world’s loneliest” elephant.
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The elephant, who has spent 35 years in a zoo, lost his partner in 2012 and has become obese due to a poor diet. He also suffers with behavioural issues, shaking his head back and forth for hours, reports Sky News.
However, Kaavan is now being relocated thanks to the help of Cher, which comes after the battle to have him moved began back in 2016.
In May, Pakistan’s high court ordered the closure of Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, where the animal spent most of his life. A medical examination in September showed Kaavan’s nails were cracked and overgrown – the result of years of living in an improper enclosure with flooring that damaged his feet.
“[He] needs to be with other elephants,” said Ingo Schmidinger, one of the experts who is helping with the move. “You can definitely compare his behaviour to human behaviour. I mean what would we do without other human conspecifics, so he is completely lost alone.”
Schmidinger, who is the head of elephant management at animal welfare organisation Four Paws International, continued: “He needs to talk elephantish, he needs to show elephant behaviour and that’s all for the moment not possible. This is why we’re trying to change this situation as soon as possible now.”
Four Paws has provided the medical treatment needed before Kaavan can travel. Cher will meet him in Pakistan, before being relocated to a sanctuary in Cambodia on Sunday (November 29).
Spokesman Martin Bauer said: “Thanks to Cher, but also local Pakistani activists, Kaavan’s fate made headlines around the world, and this contributed to the facilitation of his transfer.”
He added: “Celebrities lending their voices to good causes are always welcomed, as they help starting public discourse and raising pressure on responsible authorities.
“Around the globe there are animal lovers, famous and not famous, and the support of every single one of them is crucial.”
He added that even after Kaavan arrives in Cambodia, he will still need years of physical and even psychological help.
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