Kavaan ‘temporarily’ back in chains

Singer Cher’s representative offers to replace ageing elephant with younger pair

Our Correspondent September 21, 2017
Kavaan is chained in its enclosure. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: There must be something special about the elephant who is languishing at a zoo in Islamabad which seems to have caught the attention of American pop legend Cher.  But for now, the capital’s authorities are remaining adamant on keeping the pachyderm.

Mark Cowne, who runs the talent firm Kruger Cowne and is a representative of singer Cher and the wildlife and animal welfare organisation “Free the Wild”, arrived in the capital on Tuesday in a bid to convince the local administration to allow the 36-year-old elephant Kavaan.

World leaders urged to join campaign to free Kaavan

On Wednesday, Cowne paid a visit to the animal himself and met with zoo administrators.

“Just had an excellent and positive meeting at Islamabad zoo,” he wrote on his Twitter page.

Despite being told that Kavaan had been freed and in good health, Cowne noted on Wednesday that as work continues on Kavaan’s enclosure, the pachyderm has been restrained again.

“Note Kaavan has builders fixing his enclosure and he is restrained very temporarily,” he wrote alongside pictures of the elephant and builders surrounded by bricks.

Earlier, Cowne met with Islamabad Mayor and Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Sheikh Anser Aziz and officials of the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) on Tuesday.

Noting that the elephant was close to retiring age, he should be taken to an elephant sanctuary. He even offered to arrange a young pair of elephants for the Margharzar Zoo in exchange for Kavaan and any other assistance his organisation could provide in the professional training of staff looking after Kavaan.

Aziz told Cowne that facilities for animals at the zoo had been upgraded and all animals, including Kavaan, were receiving improved treatment, much better than a year ago.

“We are in the process of further upgrading facilities and expertise available to animals including Kavaan,” the Mayor said, adding that after the local government system was set up in Islamabad, the first thing they did was free Kavaan of his chains.

Pop-star Cher aims to free lonely, chained elephant in Pakistan

Aziz told Cowne that the previous staff tending to the elephant, and those who had been accused of mistreating Kavaan, had been reassigned and replaced with new staff members who had better training and expertise in handling the pachyderm.

“Facilities for Kavaan including feed, shed quality and medication have also been improved to a significant degree, we are continuously working to further improve conditions for Kavaan in Margharzar Zoo,” Aziz said.

He said international community should be satisfied that Kavaan was in safer hands now.

“We appreciate the international community for its concerns and offers of assistance for Kavaan, we will take into consideration all these offers and try to take benefit of it wherever found necessary in the best interest of Kavaan,” the mayor said.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2017.


Bunny Rabbit | 4 years ago | Reply I feel today animals are safer in the zoos rather than out in the open forests where they fall prey to poachers .
kp | 4 years ago | Reply disgusting act of animal cruelty
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