US pop singer Cher poses in front of the crate containing Kaavan the Asian elephant upon his arrival in Cambodia from Pakistan at Siem Reap International Airport in Siem Reap on November 30, 2020.
US pop singer Cher poses in front of the crate containing Kaavan the Asian elephant upon his arrival in Cambodia from Pakistan at Siem Reap International Airport in Siem Reap on November 30, 2020.
TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP via Getty Images
  • Kaavan, the “world’s loneliest elephant,” had been in captivity in Pakistan for 35 years until he was rescued over the weekend.
  • He was brought to an animal sanctuary in Cambodia where he will be able to interact with other elephants. 
  • Cher was part of Kaavan’s rescue team, and sang him the song “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Cher helped rescue a 36-year-old overweight elephant who has spent much of his life in captivity, and was part of a team who brought him to a sanctuary in Cambodia.

Kaavan, dubbed the “world’s loneliest elephant” after his partner died in 2012, had been in captivity in Pakistan for 35 years until he was rescued over the weekend.

The elephant — Pakistan’s only Asian elephant — had been a gift to the country from Sri Lanka, according to the  welfare organization Four Paws.

Earlier this year, the zoo Kaavan was living in was closed down and Islamabad’s High Court approved Four Paws’ request to move the elephant to a sanctuary in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Elephant Kaavan stands under the cover of its shed behind a fence at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad on May 22, 2020.
Elephant Kaavan stands under the cover of its shed behind a fence at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad on May 22, 2020.
AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images

Cher has pushed for Kaavan’s relocation for years, and was at his side when he was moved on Monday. She even sang him the song “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” CNN reported.

“I am so proud he is here,” Cher told AFP. “He’s going to be really happy here.”

According to a statement from the Smithsonian Channel to CNN, which is making a documentary about Kaavan, Cher first learned about the elephant through Twitter.

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“I thought, ‘how can I fix this? How can I save an elephant who’s been shackled to a shed for 17 years and who is a thousand miles away?'” Cher said. 

US pop singer Cher (R) looks on as the crate containing Kaavan the Asian elephant is brought into the Kulen Prom Tep Wildlife Sanctuary in Oddar Meanchey Province on November 30, 2020, after he was welcomed by the superstar earlier in the day in Siem Reap upon his arrival from Pakistan.
US pop singer Cher (R) looks on as the crate containing Kaavan the Asian elephant is brought into the Kulen Prom Tep Wildlife Sanctuary in Oddar Meanchey Province on November 30, 2020, after he was welcomed by the superstar earlier in the day in Siem Reap upon his arrival from Pakistan.
TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP via Getty Images

A team of veterinarians from Four Paws spent months preparing Kaavan for the trip to Cambodia, but told the Guardian that it was largely an uneventful seven-hour plane ride.

“Kaavan was eating, was not stressed — he was even a little bit sleeping, standing, leaning at the crate wall,” Amir Khalil, a veterinarian from Four Paws, told The Guardian.

There are 600 other elephants at the sanctuary where Kaavan will be staying, the Guardian reported.

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