Pop icon, Cher, is the unlikely savior for the "world's loneliest elephant", who has spent the majority of his life in captivity in Pakistan.
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Kaavan the elephant is finally getting the second chance at life he deserves.His story is heartbreaking and has captured the hearts of people (and even celebrities) across the globe.
Now, Asian elephants like Kaavan truly are an incredible species.With deep family roots and strong emotional bonds, they are far more superior than we give them credit for.
They are incredibly sociable animals.
via: Getty ImagesThese elephants are usually spotted in groups of around 6 or 7 females, and they are known to join other groups of elephants to form a larger group.
The elephant is an important cultural symbol...
via: Getty ImagesAnd they are very much loved and respected all across the continent.
But sadly, this isn't always the case.
via: GettyAs a result of human activity, the Asian elephant is now listed as endangered, with fewer than 50,000 left in both the wild and captivity.
There are 2 major factors that can be credited to these devastating numbers...
via: GettyThe first is poaching - Like the African elephant, Asian elephants are relentlessly poached for their ivory tusks.
And the second is the destruction of their natural habitat.
via: GettyAs urbanization, industrial development, and agricultural expansion increase in countries like India and Indonesia, Asian elephants’ habitats are shrinking rapidly.
And the ones who have survived our destruction?
via: GettyWell, captivity is the only answer.
Around 15,000 Asian elephants are currently living in captivity...
via: GettyAnd it's all thanks to our impact on their habitats.
Sadly, a lot of these elephants in captivity suffer tremendously.
via: GettyElephants are usually at the top of a tourist's list when visiting countries across Asia and locals have been cashing in on the exploitation of these animals for decades now.
Whether they are being forced to perform...
via: GettyOr used as novelty "rides" for tourists, these elephants are trained and often beaten into submission, which slowly chips away at their souls and characters.
However, not all captive environments are so cruel.
via: GettyThere are so many national parks and organizations that provide these elephants with the environment and care that they deserve.
And one elephant is finally being moved to a place he can live freely...His story, however, is utterly tragic.
Kaavan has lived his life in chains for the last thirty-five years.The poor creature has known nothing but "mental torment," with the elephant regularly said to be seen swaying and bobbing his head in his enclosure.
For years, campaigners have petitioned to free Kaavan the elephant from Islamabad Zoo in Pakistan.He was not only kept in chains but also showing symptoms of mental distress due to the enclosure.
The campaign was even backed by some of the biggest celebs out there...Including Cher, who expressed her horror at what was happening to the elephant.
After his only playmate died, Kaavan was inconsolable.Activists even dubbed him the "world's loneliest elephant."
However, that all changed earlier this year...
THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST MOMENTS OF MY LIFE. CANT STOP??,??,BEING SICK 2 MY STOMACH.(Ate??in The night & Was SOOOO… https://t.co/exeOBVGlJn— Cher (@Cher)1590083454.0
Chief Justice, Athar Minallah, was the one who ordered the release.He said: "Neither are there adequate facilities nor resources to provide living conditions that would meet the behavioral, social, and physiological needs of the animals."
The Pakistani government agreed on July 17th to let Free the Wild relocate Kaavan to Cambodia.Ammar Pervaiz - part of a local animal welfare group - tweeted: "Finally, Kaavan is going to Cambodia! I can't express how happy I am for Kaavan. Thank you to all the beautiful souls across the globe who raised their voice and showed their support especially IWMB and advocate Owais Awa."
Co-founder of Free the Wild, Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne, was ecstatic over the news."[We] are delighted by the news from Pakistan regarding the relocation and retirement of Kaavan, Pakistan's last remaining Asian elephant... after 5 years of relentless effort by Free the Wild and Team Kaavan."
Kaavan was confirmed as receiving the medical OK!Meaning after thirty-five years, he would leave the zoo and move on to a whole new life.
And now the time has come...Kaavan's move happened on Sunday.
He was flown to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, where he will be given the care he so desperately needs and deserves.But he's had one particular friend by his side the whole way though... Cher.
Cher has supported and helped with this move happening.And she was even there for it.
Cher visited Pakistan days prior to Kaavan's journey in a special cargo plane.
??#FOURPAWSinPakistan??????: Today is the day! Final preparations are underway and the crate has been moved into Ka… https://t.co/LMVhfyNpqm— FOUR PAWS (@FOUR PAWS)1606640762.0
A spokesman, Martin Bauer, for Four Paws International said: "Thanks to Cher, but also local Pakistani activists, Kaavan's fate made headlines around the world, and this contributed to the facilitation of his transfer."
???? ??#FOURPAWSinPakistan??????: Together for Kaavan! ?? Can you believe that in less than 24 hours Kaavan’s journey to… https://t.co/w6vQ0X9rq0— FOUR PAWS (@FOUR PAWS)1606558466.0
Not only did Cher fly to Pakistan for the start of Kaavan's journey, but, she was also waiting in Cambodia at the end.
#FreeKaavan ??: Kaavan arrived! ?? Last night the loneliest elephant in the world was loaded on an airplane in Is… https://t.co/xLDuwOO28f— FOUR PAWS UK (@FOUR PAWS UK)1606731095.0
Her support has been so important and also praised by many.
???? ??#FOURPAWSinPakistan??????:Dreams do come true! For the first time in 35 years, Kaavan’s enclosure is finally em… https://t.co/cIVU1PcX2S— FOUR PAWS (@FOUR PAWS)1606665928.0