American music sensation Cher, who has long been campaigning for Kaavan’s release will reportedly be arriving in Pakistan on November 27 to see the elephant off.
According to a report in Gulf News, Cher is arriving in Islamabad on November 27 to see Kaavan off as he leaves for Cambodia, where he will spend the rest of his life in a wildlife reserve. The singer says that it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and that she “will sob” when she sees him for the first time.
Earlier, the singer had revealed that she had composed two songs for Kaavan.
“Can’t wait to sing to him on way to Cambodia,” Cher had said in a tweet.
36-year-old Kaavan is being relocated to a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia for retirement after the Islamabad High Court in May this year ruled that the Margazhar Zoo is not fit for animals. Kaavan has spent most of his life in a small enclosure with meagre shelter, and the last eight years alone after his companion elephant Saheli died. The court’s decision came after a four-year global campaign, backed by Cher. He is set to fly out of Pakistan on November 29 on a Russian cargo plane, specially chartered for his transportation.
“All arrangements have been made, a Russian plane has been chartered that will land at Rawalpindi’s military (Chaklala Airport) in the morning of November 29, the same evening Kaavan will depart the Marghazar Zoo at 3 PM in VIP protocol paying his last regards to the city where he was brought as a calf from Sri Lanka in 1985. Kaavan was brought up at the same Marghazar Zoo. Here he had a female companion Saheli who later died of gangrene in 2012,” shared Director of the Four Paws Project Dr Amir Khalil. Four Paws International, the global animal welfare organisation in collaboration with another animals’ rights group, Free the Wild, has raised funds for the relocation of the elephant from Pakistan to Cambodia.
“Now at the age of 36, Kaavan is leaving for yet another home into retirement,” added Dr Khalil.
Meanwhile, Islamabad Zoo on Monday gave a farewell party to Kaavan which was attended by the public and government officials. The party was held right outside Kaavan’s enclosure and also included performances by Haroon, Natasha Baig, Khumaariyan and Arieb Azhar.
Speaking at the farewell, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said: “It is a sad but the right step to send off the animal to a sanctuary where it will be in a much bigger space and with its own kind.”
PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan, who was also at the event, tweeted: “Sorry and farewell to Kaavan as our dearest (from childhood) is off to Cambodia.”
Later, President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi also paid a visit to Islamabad to bid farewell to Kaavan.
During his visit, President Alvi said that he hopes that Kaavan finds happiness in Cambodia.
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