Science | November 29, 2020 5:15 pm

Cher Helps Secure Release of “World’s Loneliest Elephant”

A happy ending to a moving story

Elephant Kaavan in Pakistan
Amir Khalil, veterinarian of the animal welfare organisation Four Paws, welcomes the elephant named Kaavan at Islamabad Zoo.
Arne Immanuel Bänsch/picture alliance via Getty Images

What happens when you’re an elephant living by yourself in steadily worsening conditions? It might well lead to you being considered “the world’s loneliest elephant,” a worrying title that’s been held by Kaavan, an elephant who spent most of his life in a zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan and whose plight caused people locally and internationally to call for his release.

An article in the Washington Post sums up Kaavan’s situation to date, including his time in the Marghazar Zoo — which Pakistan’s High Court ordered to close earlier this year because it was deemed unsafe for the animals currently living there.

Veterinarians and specialists from the animal welfare group Four Paws International arrived on the scene to treat Kaavan and make sure that he was healthy enough to be transported to a sanctuary in Cambodia. Once they were confident that he was, there was one more piece that needed completion before he could be on his way to a new home.

The effort to move Kaavan required someone to negotiate his release with the government of Pakistan, and someone stepped up to meet with Prime Minister Imran Khan. That negotiator? None other than Cher, who is evidently a very convincing negotiator.

Martin Bauer of Four Paws International thanked Cher and the Pakistani activists who worked to raise awareness of Kaavan’s situation. The Guardian reports that Kaavan’s journey to his new home, where he will be able to live alongside other elephants, has begun.

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.