New Documentary Follows Cher On An Elephant Rescue Mission In Pakistan

The "Moonstruck" icon's journey is chronicled in "Cher & the Loneliest Elephant," which hits Paramount+ on April 22.

Actor, singer and all-around icon Cher added “animal activist” to her list of titles when she oversaw the removal of an endangered elephant from a Pakistani zoo this past autumn.

Next month, fans will get to witness that emotional moment for themselves when Paramount+ unveils “Cher & the Loneliest Elephant,” a film documenting the “Moonstruck” star’s visit to the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad. The movie is set to arrive on April 22, to coincide with Earth Day.

Paramount+ released a 10-second teaser for “Cher & the Loneliest Elephant” Wednesday, showing the Oscar winner posing with the elephant, Kaavan. The film will be available to watch on the Smithsonian Channel starting May 19.

Cher said she first learned about Kaavan through online activists. The elephant had been kept at Marghazar Zoo since 1985 ― nearly his entire life ― and veterinarians had diagnosed him as both overweight and malnourished. After hearing of the elephant’s plight, Cher co-founded Free the Wild, an animal advocacy group. Her 2017 single “Walls” was also aimed at raising awareness of captive animal abuse.

Cher with the elephant Kaavan in November 2020.
Cher with the elephant Kaavan in November 2020.
Smithsonian Channel/Paramount+

Kaavan’s outlook took a turn for the better in May 2020, when a Pakistani high court ordered that the elephant be freed. An international rescue organization, Four Paws, found an appropriate new home for him at a Cambodian wildlife sanctuary.

The relocation efforts were fraught with logistical challenges, but Cher remained undeterred. In November, she flew to Islamabad to oversee Kaavan’s resettlement firsthand, alongside a host of animal aid groups and veterinarians.

“I was frightened,” the superstar said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”

“People want a happy ending,” she added. “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.”

Watch the teaser for “Cher & the Loneliest Elephant” below.