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Cher smiles at a red carpet event. We see her from the neck up. She has long black hair, rosey pink eye-shadow, cheeks and lips. Inset is a photo of Cher from behind wearing pants and a black and white shirt, looking at Kaavan, the elephant.)

CHER VISITS “KAAVAN”, THE ELEPHANT SHE HELPED FREE FROM THE ZOO

After five years of campaigning for his freedom, Cher has finally met the elephant she’s helped release from a Pakistan zoo.

Kaavan had been living in a small enclosure at Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad for the last 35 years, under some pretty horrific conditions: He was chained up most of the time, had become overweight due to a poor diet, developed a number of wounds and suffered behavioural problems.

In 2012 he lost his partner Saheli, and for 8 years, had no other elephants to keep him company.

The music icon, who’s been advocating to end the cruelty since 2016 along with her foundation Free The Wild and other animal rights groups, not only sang to Kaavan when she met him, but also fed him some apples and bananas.

 

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With the help of animal rescue group Four Paws International, he’s being moved to a sanctuary in Cambodia which, as you can imagine, isn’t exactly the easiest task…

It comes with a hefty price tag – over $540,000 which has been funded by Cher, Free The Wild, Four Paws and some private donors.

He needed weeks of training before he could be moved safely into a transport crate.

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He’s been fed over 200 kilograms of food – and that’s just on his way to the airport.

And now, during the 25-hour flight to Cambodia, he’s being watched as he lay under mild sedation.

“We are so close to seeing Kaavan’s freedom after such a long time and we could not be more excited to have the boy feel fresh grass under his feet, the shade of the trees at the heat of the day, fresh running water to bathe and play in and of course, the company of his two lady neighbours!” it says on Free The Wild’s Facebook page.

Cher also spent some time meeting with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan where they discussed Kaavan as well as new climate initiatives.

In a tweet following their chat, Cher thanked him “for making it possible for me to take Kaavan to Cambodia.”

She also has plans to meet the elephant once he starts his new life at the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary.

At the time of writing, Kaavan is just over 9 hours into his journey. You can follow all the updates at @ftwglobal on Instagram.

Cher is also making a documentary about his release.

(Feature Image Credit: Tinseltown/ Shutterstock.com; Inset: @ftwglobal/Instagram)

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