On May 21, 2020, Cher shocked Twitter by making a big announcement, but it wasn’t about any upcoming music. Instead, she shared the news that Pakistan’s loneliest elephant, Kaavan, was finally going to be freed from Murghazar Zoo after being held in captivity since 2002.
For the past four years, Cher has fought to release the elephant back in the wild, where he belongs. She started a petition for his freedom and received hundreds of thousands of signatures from fans and wildlife activists. Her dream came true and Twitter rejoiced along with the Goddess of Pop.
Held In Captivity
In 2002, Kaavan was brought to Pakistan as a one-year-old baby elephant from Sri Lanka. He was used as a gift to former dictator General Zia-ul-Haq from the Sri Lankan government. Once he arrived in Pakistan, he was immediately placed in chains due to his violent behavior.
To solve the problem, he had a mate, Saheli, who helped calm his violent tendencies. However, after Saheli died in 2012, Kaavan began to show further distress. He wasn’t offered another mate, and elephants need companions. He was regarded as “Pakistan’s loneliest elephant,” which wasn’t a good reputation for the Islamabad Zoo.
Causing More Distress
Throughout the years, Kaavan has transferred zoos, finally settling in Murghazar Zoo. But this new location didn’t help the elephant. Kaavan’s problems grew worse in 2019 when his zookeepers were suspended for stealing his food. In addition, they allowed wild boars to break into his enclosure. These boars stole Kaavan’s bread and fruit, leaving the elephant vulnerable, starving, and severely dehydrated.
Animals shouldn’t be treated this way, which is what led Cher to lead a petition to save Kaavan. In 2016, she took over a case to rescue the elephant. She sent a representative to the Islamabad Zoo to get him released from his captivity. Using her celebrity status as a benefit, she helped receive thousands of signatures for the petition.
Everyone admired Cher’s compassion for Kaavan and they wanted to help save him. She saw pictures of Kaavan living by himself and in a small enclosure. The only thing he had was a small dirty pond to play in, which isn’t suitable for a large animal. Kaavan needed help and if anyone could save him, it would be Cher.
Finally Set Free
On May 21, 2020, Cher was excited to share the elated news that Kaavan is finally going to be released. The Islamabad high court ordered for wildlife officials to contact Sri Lanka to find Kaavan a “suitable sanctuary” within 30 days.
Cher tweeted, “This is one of the greatest moments of my life. Can’t stop [crying and smiling]…But Kaavan is free. [Tears are running] down my cheeks, but he’s free.” She added, “It’s so emotional for us that I have to sit down.” Finally, she thanked the Pakistani government for giving Kaavan what he deserves: freedom.
Social Media Reaction
Fans rejoiced with Cher when she announced that Kaavan was going to be set free. People hoped this day would finally come, so they’re just as happy as the singer. Twitter user @rubithecat said, “Oh, dear God! I can’t believe it’s true! I’ve just learned Kaavan is free! Thanks, Cher, and everyone for being a voice for Kaavan.” Another user @OGCherLovely commented, “I’m not sitting down now! Whoo Hoo! Finally! Freedom for Kaavan. Run like the wind!”
Then, the user @Nanette84370739 said, “Finally, human animals do right by this magnificent non-human animal. Elephants have been entangled in my heart for over 55 years. This news brings me joy and hope for mankind’s ability to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do and not because there’s money in it.”
People came together to help save an innocent animal, and there’s always a reason to celebrate an act of kindness.
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