Cher explains why she embarked on mission to help 'world's loneliest elephant'

·2 min read
Cher holds a welcoming sign for a rescued elephant named Kaavan arriving at the airport, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Siem Reap, Cambodia. (Pool Photo via AP)
Cher holds a welcoming sign for a rescued elephant named Kaavan arriving at the airport, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Siem Reap, Cambodia. (Pool Photo via AP)

Cher has detailed what led to her embarking on a quest to help out the "world's loneliest elephant".

The Believe singer was motivated to save Kaavan, a four-ton Asian elephant who spent nearly 20 years chained up in Pakistan, due to a deluge of messages from her fans on Twitter as part of a social media campaign. 

“I never actually intended to, I just got swept up in it because the kids on my site, on my Twitter feed, started sending me these pictures and it was all ‘free Kaavan, free Kaavan’," the 74-year-old told PA news agency. 

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“And I looked at the pictures and they were terrible but I thought, ‘I can’t do anything’, so I didn’t answer them and thought eventually they’ll just stop. But they didn’t and so I started to get involved.”

Dr. Amir Khalil, a vet from the international animal welfare organization Four Paws with Kaavan during his examination at the Maragzar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed, File)
Dr. Amir Khalil, a vet from the international animal welfare organization Four Paws with Kaavan during his examination at the Maragzar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed, File)

Kaavan was being made to beg for tips at Islamabad Zoo where he lived in a cramped shed, with his poor living conditions resulting in health problems. 

He previously had a female companion, Saheli however she died in 2012, allegedly from sepsis caused by a bull hook. 

Cher co-founded Free The Wild with partners Mark Cowne, Gina Nelthorpe Cowne and Jennifer Ruiz and recorded song Walls to promote the movement to free him. 

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In May 2020, a Pakistan court ordered the animal to be freed with the team, international rescue organisation Four Paws and vet Dr Amir Khalil finding the elephant a home in a Cambodian wildlife sanctuary. 

Read more: Cher says she's 'going to have to' go on Drag Race

Cher flew to Asia to secure Kaavan's rescue, with her journey captured in the documentary Cher & The Loneliest Elephant

She was there to greet Kaavan as he arrived at his new home.

With additional reporting by PA.

Watch: 'World's loneliest elephant' meets other animals of his kind at sanctuary

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