We’ve previously reported on Kaavan, a mistreated zoo elephant who was dubbed the “world’s loneliest elephant” after the death of his partner.
And recently, after decades of captivity, Kaavan was finally freed, and is happily living in a sanctuary interacting with other elephants.
This happy ending was the result of the hard work of many activists and rescuers who called for his release… and one of Kaavan’s biggest supporters was the most surprising: pop superstar Cher!
The singer and actress campaigned on Twitter to free Kaavan, and helped get him transported to his new home.
Now, just a week after Kaavan’s happy ending, Cher isn’t resting: she’s already moving on to her next animal cause, turning her attention from a lonely elephant to a lonely gorilla.
Bua Noi has been living in the Pata Zoo, located above a department store in western Bangkok, Thailand since 1990, according to Sky News.
Like Kaavan, Bua Noi was left alone after her mate died many years ago, and is now the only gorilla in Thailand.
The “zoo” is about as far from a native habitat as you can get. Bua Noi spends all her time in a concrete cell, seven stories above ground.
She has lived in captivity since she was one year old, and goes without seeing sunlight or grass, unable to be her natural self.
Animal activists have long called for the closure of the Pata Zoo. But now Cher is getting involved in the cause in a big way.
According to The Guardian, Cher’s wildlife charity Free the Wild has offered to fund the gorilla’s transfer to a sanctuary in the Republic of the Congo, along with a bonobo and an orangutan mother and child.
She has also tweeted asking Thai locals for their support: “Good People Of Bangkok I Know You Will Understand & Help Me Stop The Torturing Of Innocent Animals. It Is a Sin.Please Help Me Bring Peace to these Animals. & Free Them From Pata Zoo…Shopping Mall.”
According to Sky News, the zoo includes two floors housing various animals, birds and reptiles, including several species of monkey.
In a statement to the outlet, the zoo’s director Kanit Sermsirimongkol defended the zoo against “distorted information” about its conditions, saying their cages are cleaned. He also says it is better for the gorilla to remain in captivity instead of being released, since she has lived there her whole life.
But Free The Wild co-founder Mark Cowne says they’ve received reports of unsanitary conditions, and says the animals should be freed.
“None of these animals appear to be being properly cared for and the reports we have received refer to the zoo as decrepit and overrun with rats and cockroaches,” Cowne told Sky News.
“No matter how much ‘care and attention’ is lavished on these animals by their owners and keepers, just by keeping them in such confines and conditions is purgatory for them in terms of their well-being and mental health.”
Cher isn’t the only celebrity involved in freeing Bua Noi. Gillian Anderson, the star of The X-Files and The Crown, recently wrote a letter on behalf of PETA, calling the Pata Zoo “one of the saddest places in the world.”
The situation is still ongoing. Representatives for Cher say that she is planning to visit the zoo to help relocate the animals. The zoo’s owners welcome her visit, saying she will realize the “love and care” Bua Noi receives.
We hope Cher is able to help Bua Noi and all the other animals at the Pata Zoo. After her success with Kaavan, we know anything is possible!
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