ISLAMABAD: Following years of public outcry and campaigning by American pop star Cher, the “world’s loneliest elephant” embarked Sunday on a mammoth transfer from Pakistan to retirement in a Cambodian sanctuary.

The famed singer and Oscar-winning actress has spent latest days on the Islamabad zoo to offer ethical help to Kaavan — an chubby, 36-year-old bull elephant — whose pitiful therapy on the dilapidated facility sparked an uproar from animal rights teams and a spirited social media marketing campaign by Cher.

“My needs have lastly come true,” Cher stated in a press release thanking her charity Free The Wild.

“We’ve got been counting right down to this second and dreaming of it for thus lengthy and to lastly see Kaavan transported out of [the Islamabad] zoo will stay with us ceaselessly.”

Kaavan’s case and the woeful circumstances on the zoo resulted in a choose this yr ordering all of the animals to be moved.

“Due to Cher and likewise to native Pakistani activists, Kaavan’s destiny made headlines across the globe and this contributed to the facilitation of his switch,” stated Martin Bauer, a spokesman for 4 Paws Worldwide — an animal welfare group that has spearheaded the relocation effort.

Specialists spent hours coaxing a barely sedated Kaavan right into a specifically constructed steel crate — at one level utilizing ropes to assist pull him in — that was to be hoisted onto a lorry and brought to Islamabad airport.

From there, Kaavan will probably be despatched through a Russian transport jumbo jet for the prolonged flight to Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia. The aircraft will cease for refueling in New Delhi.

Cher spent a number of days in Islamabad to go to Kaavan earlier than the journey to a 10,000-hectare (25,000-acre) Cambodian wildlife sanctuary, with Prime Minister Imran Khan personally thanking the 74-year-old star.

Cher was because of fly to Cambodia on Sunday to be within the Southeast Asian nation when the elephant arrives.

Officers stated Kaavan will initially be saved in a small designated part of the park the place he can see different elephants.

“Sending him to a spot the place he will be with different elephants of his sort […] is basically the correct alternative,” local weather change minister Malik Amin Aslam instructed AFP.

“We will probably be glad to see him glad in Cambodia and we hope he finds a accomplice very quickly.”

Dubbed by the press because the world’s loneliest elephant, Kaavan is the one Asian elephant in Pakistan — the tiny variety of different pachyderms at different zoos are African.

A group of vets and specialists from 4 Paws have spent months working with Kaavan to get him prepared for the journey to Cambodia, which has included coaching the elephant to enter the huge steel transport crate that will probably be positioned in a cargo aircraft for the seven-hour flight.

Zoo officers have up to now denied Kaavan was saved in substandard circumstances or chained, claiming as a substitute the creature was pining for a brand new mate after his accomplice died in 2012.

However Kaavan’s conduct — together with indicators of misery akin to continuous head-bobbing — raised considerations of psychological sickness.

Activists additionally stated Kaavan was not correctly sheltered from Islamabad’s searing summer time temperatures.
Kaavan’s mate Saheli, who additionally arrived from Sri Lanka, died in 2012.

Rights teams and conservationists have stated that the abysmal circumstances on the Islamabad zoo resulted partially from the dearth of laws in Pakistan aimed toward defending animal welfare.

“There’s lots of enchancment to be made,” stated Rab Nawaz with the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) in Pakistan.

“Kaavan is only one animal. There’s plenty of animals in Pakistan […] that are in depressing circumstances.”