Imran Khan holds talks with Cher in Islamabad on Friday. AFP
Gulf Today Report
Iconic US singer and actress Cher is in Pakistan to celebrate the departure of Kaavan, dubbed the "world’s loneliest elephant,” who will soon leave a Pakistani zoo for better conditions after years of lobbying by animal rights groups and activists.
Because of security concerns, Cher's schedule was not made public. However, she met on Friday with Prime Minister Imran Khan and was expected to visit Kaavan later in the trip, according to the prime minister's office. Imran has appreciated the efforts of American singer to transfer Kaavan to Cambodia.
PM's office released a video of the singer sitting with the prime minister outside on the expansive grounds of Imran's residence.
According to tweets by the Prime Minister's Office, the premier appreciated Cher's efforts in retiring Kaavan to an elephant sanctuary and thanked her for her campaign and role in this regard.
Imran also invited the singer to participate and contribute towards the government's initiative for the expansion of protected areas, to which she kindly agreed.
Cher applauded the premier for his government's key initiatives for ensuring a cleaner and greener Pakistan, saying that the "Protected Areas Initiative and the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami initiative of the government were highly commendable and praiseworthy as nature-based tools for climate mitigation."
She also offered her support for furthering the green initiatives through her organisation Free the Wild and thanked the Prime Minister.
Kaavan, the elephant has languished in the zoo for 35 years, and lost his partner in 2012. He was diagnosed by veterinarians as both overweight and malnourished, and also suffers behavioral issues due to his isolation.
Kaavan is set to leave for a sanctuary in Cambodia on Sunday, said Martin Bauer of Four Paws International, a global animal welfare group that’s led the charge to save him since 2016.
A photographer takes a picture of Kaavan at the Maragzar Zoo. AP
Cher took up Kaavan’s cause and has been a loud voice advocating for his resettlement. Four Paws, which often carries out animal rescue missions, has provided the medical treatment needed before Kaavan can travel and will accompany him to the sanctuary. Even after he’s in Cambodia, he’ll require years of physical and even psychological assistance, Bauer said.
The movement aims to compel the government to stop cruelty against animals at zoos as well as at the pet markets across the country.
The protest “#VoicefortheVoiceless: a peaceful demonstration against animal cruelty” took place outside the Islamabad Zoo on August 10th, 2019.
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