Cher performs exclusive song at #OYW2017 Closing Ceremony

At this year’s One Young World Closing Ceremony at Simon Bolivar Park, delegates enjoyed an exclusive performance from Cher with her new song dedicated to Free The Wild, ‘Walls’.

#FreeTheWild is a campaign to cease the mistreatment of wild animals in captivity and is the world’s first dedicated online platform that aggregates and amplifies global efforts for animal welfare. FTW will work hand-in-hand with, and provides financial support to, other organisations including World Wildlife Fund, Four Paws, the Global Sanctuary for Elephants, the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, Animal Welfare Worldwide, Stop Ivory and a number of other internationally renowned organisations who share the vision of FTW.

They select existing projects to support via online donations and advocacy - and their first project is to free Kavaan.

The elephant named Kavaan has been living behind bars in Islamabad for over 30 years. For decades he has been chained, abused, neglected and ignored. He has suffered in deplorable conditions in Marghzar Zoo while any efforts to save him and relocate Kavaan to a sanctuary have stalled.

In July 2016, after a long battle, Pakistan’s Senate Standing Committee agreed that sending Kavaan to a sanctuary in Cambodia was “the right thing to do.” The team behind #FreeKavaan have done an incredible job in raising awareness of Kavaan’s condition, but there’s still a long way to go.

FreeTheWild co-founder Mark Crowne recently went to visit Kavaan to see whether conditions had changed for the better. While conditions in the zoo have improved, Cher says it’s just not enough.

In order to free Kavaan, $250,000 needs to be raised to ensure that he can live in a dignified and safe environment.

This article was written by Elinor Jane Stephens. She is a Magazine Journalist, trained at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC).