Islamabad, Nov 27 (PTI) Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday appreciated efforts of US celebrity singer Cher to relocate Kaavan, dubbed as the world's loneliest elephant, from a Pakistani zoo to Cambodia for better conditions.
Cher, who called on the Prime Minister in Islamabad, has been campaigning for retiring Kaavan, the country's only Asian elephant, to an elephant sanctuary.
The story of Kaavan, who is 35 years old, attracted world attention after reports went viral about the deteriorating condition of the zoo in Islamabad where the elephant was kept.
Prime Minister Khan 'thanked Cher for her campaign and role in this regard,” according to his office.
He said that “it was indeed a happy moment for all of us that after giving joy and happiness to the people of Islamabad and Pakistan for about 35 years, Kaavan will now be able to retire with other elephants in a specialised sanctuary in Cambodia.” The Prime Minister also invited the singer to participate and contribute towards the government's initiative for the expansion of protected areas, to which she agreed.
Cher also tweeted about her meeting with Khan.
“Just Came From Meeting To Thank Prime Minister Imran Khan For Making It Possible For Me To Take Kaavan To Cambodia,” she said.
The Pakistan government on Monday issued a permit to transfer the elephant and sources said Kaavan will be flown to Cambodia on November 29.
The elephant was already handed over to experts who were dealing with its transfer.
President Arif Alvi along with his wife Samina attended a function on November 24 at the Marghzar Zoo in Islamabad to mark the handing over of the elephant to experts to finalise the last part of the preparations to shift it to Cambodia, his office said in a statement.
The experts have trained Kaavan to enter a large metal crate that will be used to transport it to the airport.
They have also noted that Kaavan was responding well to music and singing.
Kaavan is being relocated to a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia on the orders of the Islamabad High Court in the context of providing proper care and natural environment.
The elephant, popular among children and adults, was born in 1985 in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan government presented it to the then President of Pakistan. In 1990, an elephant Sahli was brought from Bangladesh and stayed with Kaavan until his death in 2012.
Kaavan became erratic over the years. Animal rights activists campaigned for its release and their efforts got a boost with the Islamabad High Court's decision on May 21, ordering immediate relocation of all animals of the zoo, including Kaavan to some suitable wildlife sanctuaries. PTI SH RS RS