Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Cher says power of social media led her on quest to save lonely elephant

Cher said the power of social media led her on a quest to save the ‘world’s loneliest elephant’ (Zoobs Ansari/Smithsonian/PA)
Cher said the power of social media led her on a quest to save the ‘world’s loneliest elephant’ (Zoobs Ansari/Smithsonian/PA)

Cher said the power of social media led her on a quest to save the “world’s loneliest elephant”.

The superstar singer and actress spearheaded a global campaign to free Kaavan, a four-ton, malnourished Asian elephant who had spent nearly 20 years chained up in Pakistan.

The creature was prodded to beg for tips while living in a cramped, dilapidated shed under the punishing Islamabad sun.

Kaavan’s living conditions led to dire health problems, including obesity, before his only mate died of neglect.

His plight led to a social media campaign that caught Cher’s attention and she eventually helped earn Kaavan his freedom.

The story features in documentary Cher & The Loneliest Elephant, which will air on the Smithsonian Channel in the UK.

Cher, a prolific Twitter user with almost four million followers, said her fans’ persistence convinced her to help Kaavan.

She told the PA news agency: “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’.

Cher
Cher flew around the world in her quest to save Asian elephant Kaavan (Zoob Ansari/Smithsonian Channel/PA)

“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.”

Cher, a chart-topping singer and Oscar-winning actress, co-founded Free The Wild with partners Mark Cowne, Gina Nelthorpe Cowne and Jennifer Ruiz.

She recorded the song Walls to boost the movement. Her efforts paid off in May 2020 when a court in Pakistan ordered Kaavan be freed.

Working with the international rescue organisation Four Paws and vet Dr Amir Khalil, the team found Kaavan a home in a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia.

Cher
Cher’s emotional mission to save Kaavan is documented in Cher & The Loneliest Elephant (Zoobs Ansari/Smithsonian Channel/PA)

In November 2020, Cher, 74, flew halfway around the world to secure the elephant’s rescue, which is captured in Cher & The Loneliest Elephant.

On using her celebrity for good, Cher said: “It’s not the first time I’ve actually done something like this but it’s all been done with human beings.

“So it is really hard, because people now send me pictures and videos all the time, it’s really hard and Free The Wild, we’re working on a bunch of animals right now, but you don’t get them quickly.

“So you have to start on all of them at one time and hope that you’ll be able to talk people into letting them go to a sanctuary.”

Cher & The Loneliest Elephant premieres on April 22 on the Paramount+ streaming service in the US and the Smithsonian Channel in the UK at 8pm.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]