Kaavan makes his movie debut with Cher and the Loneliest Elephant on April 22

Published 10 Apr, 2021 03:54pm

Images Staff

The documentary follows Cher on her journey as she fights legal battles and executive difficulties to free the elephant.

A documentary on the 'world's loneliest elephant', Kaavan's journey from solitary confinement in Pakistan to a sanctuary in Cambodia is going to be released on April 22.

Titled Cher & The Loneliest Elephant, the documentary tells the tale of 36-year-old Asian elephant Kaavan's journey and will stream on Paramount+. A trailer was recently released for the film and according to it, it follows American singer Cher's journey in making sure Kaavan is set free, as she crossed legal hurdles and the exceptional difficulties of the task, taking viewers on "a touching journey about humans, animals, and our connection to all living beings on earth."

Paramount+ was launched in the US and parts of Latin America on March 4.

Cher, the "Goddess of Pop", has also written and sung a new song 'Walls' for the documentary. We're glad to add what she's done for Kaavan to her already lengthy list of highly appreciable endeavours.

Her campaign took social media by storm, as pictures and videos of the lonely elephant, chained up and malnourished at Islamabad's Marghazar Zoo, went viral globally. International veterinarian communities, sanctuary owners, animal rights groups, and wildlife experts took to the internet in great numbers, expressing their concern at the situation, calling for the world's authorities to help put an end to the madness.

Cher and her organisation, Free The Wild, adopted the cause early on, and thus begun the daunting task of transporting the four-tonne malnourished mammal 2,300 miles across Asia during a pandemic.

The documentary follows Cher as she travels to Pakistan, meets the authorities, and oversees Kaavan's departure.

"I could see him from the distance, he was shackled. He was suffering," said Cher of her first interaction with Kaavan. "Elephants are just like we are, they are so family-oriented and emotional," she says in the trailer.

When in May 2020 Islamabad High Court announced the closure of the Marghazar zoo and its decision for the immediate relocation of the animals, Four Paws International was called in to execute the difficult task. The organisation has detailed how it planned and pulled off the relocation, which you can read here.

Related: Kaavan's journey to Cambodia in pictures

Spokesman of the Austria-based Four Paws, Martin Bauer, when speaking to the Associated Press, said “Thanks to Cher, but also local Pakistani activists, Kaavan’s fate made headlines around the world, and this contributed to the facilitation of his transfer.”

"I saw all the people being affected by it all over the world. People want a happy ending. People don't want to see animals suffer," Cher told Entertainment Weekly about the upcoming documentary.

Kaavan was brought to Pakistan in 1985, at barely one year of age — becoming the country's only Asian elephant — as a gift from the Sri Lankan government, acknowledging the nations' deep ties. Later, when he was six years old, he was joined by Saheli, another female Asian elephant. The two lived together for 22 years, until her tragic death in 2012 due to infections from the cuts caused by her chains. Kaavan was left visibly distraught, as recognised by experts of animal behavior.

"He was just moving back and forth. This behaviour comes from severe mental and physical neglect," said an expert about Kavaan's condition in the trailer.

The elephant arrived in Cambodia to much fanfare. Kaavan was excited to see other elephants, and quick to make new friends.

“First contact with an elephant in eight years — this is a huge moment for Kaavan,” said Bauer. “Kaavan will finally have the chance to live a species-appropriate and peaceful life,” he added, finishing, "He has a very bright future ahead of him."

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