Cher “sneaked back in” to Ukraine to rescue a bear.

The 77-year-old singer’s Free The Wild organisation managed to evacuate a tiger, six lions and a panther from a zoo in the country before Vladimir Putin’s Russia invaded last year, but after they were unable to move the creature at the time, the group later went back in a rented vehicle to bring him across the border too.

She told The Hollywood Reporter: “We went in before the war and did everything to get them out. But we left the bear, so we had to sneak back in with a big pickup truck and get him out during the war.”

The ‘Believe’ hitmaker was also involved in another animal rescue effort, a lengthy legal battle to have elephant Kaavan removed from Islamabad Zoo in Pakistan.

She said: “It took me five years in court to get Kaavan out of that zoo but Islamabad finally understood exactly why it needed to be done.”

Cher made the fight to free Kaavan – who was dubbed the world’s loneliest elephant after being left alone in captivity after his companion Saheli died in 2012– a personal crusade because her efforts to have another elephant, Billy, moved from Los Angeles Zoo to a sanctuary.

She said: “The truth is that I saved Kaavan because I couldn’t save Billy.

“And Billy still suffers every day.

“Now we are working with one of, if not the most, developed nations on the planet, the United States, and our own people don’t seem to understand or appreciate the effects of zoo life on these creatures. He deserves to spend his last years in a sanctuary.”

In December, the LA City Council recommended 38-year-old Billy be moved to a sanctuary but the zoo disagreed.