Pakistan to free elephant Kaavan after marketing campaign by US singer Cher


Music icon and animal rights activist Cher shared her delight after a Pakistani courtroom ordered freedom for a lonely elephant, who had turn into the topic of a high-profile rights marketing campaign backed by the United States singer.

“We have just heard from Pakistan High Court Kaavan is free,” the singer and animal rights campaigner mentioned on Twitter on Thursday in capital letters, including a string of emojis and saying she felt “sick”.

“This is one of the greatest moments of my life,” she mentioned.


Outrage over the therapy of Kaavan on the capital’s Islamabad Zoo went international a number of years in the past with a petition garnering greater than 200,000 signatures after it emerged he was being chained up.

The Islamabad High Court ordered wildlife officers to seek the advice of with Sri Lanka, the place the Asian elephant got here from, to search out him a “suitable sanctuary” inside 30 days.

“The pain and suffering of Kaavan must come to an end by relocating him to an appropriate elephant sanctuary, in or outside the country,” the courtroom ordered, criticising the zoo for failing to fulfill the animal’s wants for the previous three many years.

The courtroom has additionally ordered dozens of different animals – together with brown bears, lions and birds – to be relocated quickly whereas the zoo improves its requirements.

Awais Awan, Kavaan’s lawyer, mentioned his case was completely different “because Pakistan is the only country where there are no Asian elephants”. 

“Any option would be better than the existing option,” he informed Al Jazeera on Friday. “Experts and the government should determine what’s best for him.” 

Zoo officers have previously denied that Kaavan was chained up and mentioned he was simply in want of a brand new mate after his companion died in 2012.

‘Bold step’

Activists mentioned he had inadequate shelter from Islamabad’s searing summer time temperatures, which may rise to above 40 levels Celsius (100 levels Fahrenheit).

Asian elephants can roam 1000’s of kilometres by deep tropical and subtropical forests, based on the World Wildlife Fund.

In distinction, Kaavan’s 90 by 140-metre (100 by 150-yard) pen had almost no foliage, and solely restricted shade was offered.


Cher has for years spoken out concerning the plight of the elephant [AFP]

Mark Cowne, CEO of Free The Wild, a charity he runs with Cher, welcome the information of his launch.

“It’s so exciting. It’s remarkable … I’m so happy for Kavaan,” he informed Al Jazeera. 

“We were concerned about his mental health, he was in a very bad condition. We really wanted to help him. He had been through a terrible time, locked up for 26 years, chained up for all that time.”

The Nonhuman Rights Project, a US animal rights group, which has been campaigning for Kaavan, applauded the “bold step”.

Arriving as a one-year-old in 1985 from Sri Lanka, Kaavan was quickly held in chains in 2002 as a result of zookeepers have been involved about more and more violent tendencies, however he was freed later that yr after an outcry.

His mate Saheli, who arrived additionally from Sri Lanka in 1990, died in 2012, and in 2015 it emerged that Kaavan was recurrently being chained as soon as extra – for a number of hours a day.

Many individuals signed a petition despatched to zoo authorities and Pakistan’s then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in protest.

A second petition circulated in 2016 and was backed by greater than 200,000 animal lovers from throughout the globe, demanding Kaavan’s launch to a sanctuary.

Cher, who for years has spoken out about his plight, tweeted her because of the Pakistani authorities, including: “It’s so emotional for us that I have to sit down.”

Additional reporting by Alia Chughtai in Karachi, Pakistan 

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and information companies