Malnourished elephant Kavaan was chained up for 20 years at a filthy roadside attraction. When Cher heard of his suffering, she leapt to action, as documented in Cher & The Loneliest Elephant. Watch the teaser:
Kaavan was prodded to beg for tips while living in a tiny, dilapidated shed in Pakistan. After Kaavan’s only mate died of neglect, he became the poster elephant on social media for the plight of captive animals.
Cher did everything she could to help pass new legislation and get Kavaan moved to a Cambodian refuge in the midst of the pandemic. She co-founded Free The Wild with partners Mark Cowne, Gine Nelthorpe Cowne and Jennifer Ruiz to boost the movement, and she recorded a song, “Walls,” to give further voice to the rising calls for Kaavan’s release. She said:
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. And I know people are suffering too, but this is a story that can brighten their lives.
I was frightened, but then I thought, what do you want to do more? You made a promise, and you have to go. I didn’t see any other way to do it. I have a saying on my Twitter, ’Stand and be counted or sit and be nothing.’ And I wasn’t going to sit and be nothing.
Smithsonian Channel head James Blue said he hoped Cher’s example would “inspire our viewers and spark increased interest in other urgently needed conservation efforts around the world.”
Catch the premiere on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, on Paramount+ in the US, and on Smithsonian Channel in the UK, Latin America and Brazil.