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Pop Icon Cher Arrives in Pakistan to Help World's 'Loneliest Elephant' Kaavan Relocate to Cambodia

Image by AFP.

Image by AFP.

Cher, who has for years campaigned for Kaavan the elephant and is helping pay for his move, arrived in the Pakistan capital this week to see the animal before the flight to Cambodia on Sunday.

American pop icon Cher met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday ahead of the relocation of an elephant from Islamabad’s dilapidated zoo to a Cambodian sanctuary.

The famed singer, who has for years campaigned for Kaavan the elephant and is helping pay for his move, arrived in the Pakistan capital this week to see the animal before the flight to Cambodia on Sunday.

“Appreciating her efforts in retiring Kaavan to an elephant sanctuary, the prime minister thanked Cher for her campaign and role in this regard," a statement from Khan’s office read.

Cher tweeted that she thanked Khan “For Making It Possible For Me To Take Kaavan To Cambodia".

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The plight of Kaavan — an overweight, 35-year-old bull elephant — has drawn international condemnation and highlighted the woeful state of Islamabad’s zoo, where conditions are so bad a judge in May ordered all the animals to be moved.

Also Read: Pakistan’s Only Asian Elephant, Kaavan, Gets Farewell Party Ahead of Relocating to Cambodia

A team of vets and experts from Four Paws, an Austria-based animal welfare group, has spent months working with Kaavan to get him ready for the journey to Cambodia.

Kaavan is set to be flown to a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia on Sunday, said Saleem Shaikh, a spokesman for Pakistan’s ministry of climate change, following months of veterinary care and a special training regime to habituate the elephant to a huge metal crate he will travel in.

Experts have trained Kaavan to enter a large metal crate that will be used to transport the animal to the airport.

Volunteers working with Kaavan say he responds well to music and singing, and Cher is expected to belt out a song or two for the elephant before he departs Islamabad.

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