Singer Cher secretly traveled to Pakistan this week to help save Kaavan, the "world's loneliest elephant." He will be moved from a Pakistani zoo to one in Cambodia with better living conditions for him on Sunday after animal rights groups spent years calling for him to get a new home. Cher's schedule in Pakistan was not made public until Friday when she met Prime Minister Imran Khan, whose office said Cher will meet Kaavan during her trip, reports the Associated Press.
Cher announced her trip on Twitter, thanking Khan for "making it possible." She said there will also be a documentary, which promises to be "heartwarming." Cher also shared a clip from the Smithsonian Channel, which is producing the documentary. She asked fans to donate to Free the Wild to help fund Kaavan's home in Cambodia.
Just Came From Meeting To Thank Prime Minister Imran Kahn For Making It Possible For— Cher (@cher) November 27, 2020
Me To Take Kaavan To Cambodia. Kaavan Will Be Able To Leave For Cambodia On The 29. Think Documentary Will Be Heartwarming🙏🏻.
Kaavan lived at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad for 35 years and has been alone since his partner died in 2012. Veterinarians said he was overweight, malnourished, and has behavioral issues because he has been isolated. Kaavan's life should change for the better once he moves to a sanctuary in Cambodia. Four Paws International, which began a campaign to save the elephant in 2016, has been treating Kavaan before his move. Once there, Kavaan will still need physical and psychological help for years, Four Paws' Martin Bauer told the AP.
The Four Paws team began treating Kaavan three months ago. Dr. Amil Khalil put Kaavan on a diet of fruits and vegetables, which helped him lose weight. Before, Kaavan was eating 550 pounds of pure sugar cane every day, with only a few fruits and vegetables in his diet. After working with Kaavan for so long, the elephant now comes toward Khalil when he hears the veterinarian's voice, Khalil said.
🐘Kaavan's journey to freedom from captivity in Islamabad to Cambodia will be a 2021 @SmithsonianChan documentary ❤️ Help us build Kaavan's forever home 🏡 https://t.co/dzdl4Ew4gn 🙏🏻@ftwglobal #KaavansJourney pic.twitter.com/iTxdzfndNB— Cher (@cher) November 27, 2020
Bauer praised Cher for stepping up and joining the cause and raising awareness of Kaavan's plight. “Celebrities lending their voices to good causes are always welcomed, as they help starting public discourse and raising pressure on responsible authorities," he told the AP. "Around the globe, there are animal lovers, famous and not famous, and the support of every single one of them is crucial."
EXACTLY AVERY 👏🏻👏🏻 This is my🐘His Name is Kaavan pic.twitter.com/TAY2krS2lO— Cher (@cher) November 21, 2020
Cher has long been an animal rights activist and also called attention to an elephant in Los Angeles. In 2019, she joined Lily Tomlin and Voice for the Animals Foundation in calling for Billy the elephant to be moved from the Los Angeles Zoo to a sanctuary run by the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). Billy "would have 15 acres to roam in the sanctuary" instead of the 3.6 acres he has at the zoo, Cher told PEOPLE.