Pakistan releases elephant after campaign backed by Cher

Posted by Kirsten on 23 May 2020

A lonely elephant in Pakistan is being released thanks to a high-profile animal rights campaign backed by iconic musician and animal rights activist, Cher.

Kaavan, a 33-year-old elephant from Sri Lanka, has been at the centre of a years-long animal rights campaign.

The elephant arrived to the Islamabad Zoo from Sri Lanka as a one-year-old in 1985. He was temporally held in chains in 2002 as zookeepers were concerned about his violent tendencies, but the chains were removed after public outcry.

Kaavan was kept in a 90 by 140 metre pen with limited shade. The World Wildlife Fund says that asian elephants like Kaavan can roam thousands of kilometres.

Kaavan was incredibly lonely and in need of a new mate after his previous one died in 2012. He began showing worrying signs of distress, and quickly became known as Pakistan’s loneliest elephant.

The campaign to have Kaavan released began in 2015 when it was discovered he was regularly being chained up again. Over 200 000 people signed a petition to have him released.

The Islamabad High Court has now ordered wildlife officials to consult with Sri Lanka to find him a “suitable sanctuary” within 30 days.

“The pain and suffering of Kaavan must come to an end by relocating him to an appropriate elephant sanctuary, in or outside the country,” the court ordered.

Taking to Twitter, Cher shared her excitement over the news that Kaavan is now free, calling it one of the greatest moments of her life.

Picture: Twitter

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