World’s loneliest elephant: Kaavan’s relocation from Pakistan set after Cher campaign

World’s loneliest elephant: Kaavan’s relocation from Pakistan set after Cher campaign
Volunteers paint an image of an elephant named on a crate to be used to be transported Kaavan to a sanctuary in Cambodia on Nov. 27, 2020. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 29 November 2020

World’s loneliest elephant: Kaavan’s relocation from Pakistan set after Cher campaign

World’s loneliest elephant: Kaavan’s relocation from Pakistan set after Cher campaign
  • Famed singer and Oscar-winning actress has spent recent days at the Islamabad zoo to provide moral support to Kaavan

ISLAMABAD: Following years of public outcry and campaigning by American pop star Cher, the “world’s loneliest elephant” was poised Sunday to embark on a mammoth journey from Pakistan to a sanctuary in Cambodia.
The famed singer and Oscar-winning actress has spent recent days at the Islamabad zoo to provide moral support to Kaavan — an overweight, 35-year-old bull elephant — whose pitiful treatment at the dilapidated facility sparked an uproar from animal rights groups and a spirited social media campaign by Cher.
Kaavan’s case and the woeful conditions at the zoo resulted in a judge this year ordering all the animals to be moved.
“Thanks to Cher and also to local Pakistani activists, Kaavan’s fate made headlines around the globe and this contributed to the facilitation of his transfer,” said Martin Bauer, a spokesman for Four Paws International — an animal welfare group that has spearheaded the relocation effort.
Cher “has quite a big platform so we have really appreciated what she has done for Kaavan since 2016.”
Dubbed by the press as the world’s loneliest elephant, Kaavan is the only Asian elephant in Pakistan — the tiny number of other pachyderms at other zoos are African.
Cher recently arrived in the Pakistani capital to see the elephant before the long journey to a 10,000-hectare Cambodian wildlife sanctuary, with Prime Minister Imran Khan personally thanking the 74-year-old star.
She was due to fly to Cambodia on Sunday to be in the Southeast Asian nation when the elephant arrives.
A team of vets and experts from Four Paws have spent months working with Kaavan to get him ready for the trip to Cambodia, which has included training the elephant to enter a massive metal transport crate that will be placed in a cargo plane for the seven-hour flight.
Zoo officials have in the past denied Kaavan was kept in substandard conditions or chained, claiming instead the creature was pining for a new mate after his partner died in 2012.
But Kaavan’s behavior — including signs of distress such as continual head-bobbing — raised concerns of mental illness.
Activists also said Kaavan was not properly sheltered from Islamabad’s searing summer temperatures.
Kaavan’s mate Saheli, who also arrived from Sri Lanka, died in 2012.
Rights groups and conservationists have said that the abysmal conditions at the Islamabad zoo resulted in part from the lack of legislation in Pakistan aimed at protecting animal welfare.
“There’s a lot of improvement to be made,” said Rab Nawaz with the World Wildlife Federation in Pakistan.
“Kaavan is just one animal. There’s lots of animals in Pakistan... which are in miserable conditions.”


TWITTER POLL: WhatsApp users undecided whether to continue using app or switching to other options

TWITTER POLL: WhatsApp users undecided whether to continue using app or switching to other options
Updated 15 January 2021

TWITTER POLL: WhatsApp users undecided whether to continue using app or switching to other options

TWITTER POLL: WhatsApp users undecided whether to continue using app or switching to other options
  • The Facebook-owned messaging service has issued a new privacy policy

DUBAI: WhatsApp users are generally undecided whether to continue using the app or consider switching to other available options, an Arab News poll showed.

The Facebook-owned messaging service has issued a new privacy policy, which some reports claimed would share users’ data without giving them a choice, something that 29.7 percent of the poll respondents said they would accept.

Meanwhile, about 38.8 percent of those who answered the poll said they would decline the new privacy policy and switch to other apps while 31.5 percent were undecided on what to do with the WhatsApp app installed in their phones.

Alternative messaging services such as Signal and Telegram meanwhile benefited from the negative press that WhatsApp received, both receiving subscriber boost in just a few days.

Signal in particular added a whopping 4.6 million new users right after receiving an endorsement from technology mogul Elon Musk.

Unlike WhatsApp, which shares user data with Facebook, Signal has a history of fighting any entity that asks for private data and adds features to further anonymize users where possible.

Telegram, which is currently No. 2 behind Signal on the App Store, saw more than 25 million new users sign up in just the last few days.

The mistrust over WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy may also affect its ambitions in India, its biggest market, where 400 million users exchange more messages on the platform.

The backlash forced it to undertake advertising blitz costing tens of millions of rupees in at least 10 English and Hindi newspapers.