This is a story that will warm even the coldest of hearts.
Raju the Indian Elephant is believed to have been taken from his mother over 50 years ago and used as a begging prop during the day, whilst at night was given no shelter and scarcely enough food to keep him alive, all the while cruelly and heartlessly shackled with chains.
Fortunately, with the intervention of Wildlife SOS, an Indian wildlife organisation dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife in distress in both urban and rural environments, Raju can now enjoy some well-deserved freedom again.
Rescuers crept into his compound in the dead of night to free him, and according to one member of the rescue team:
Raju cried out, not in fear or resistance, but in sheer joy. Tears began to roll down Raju’s face. We knew in our hearts that he realized he was being freed.”
The chains were secured so tightly around Raj’s legs that it took rescuers at least 45-minutes to set him free.
The last half-century has been something of a nightmare for the elephant, and the marks of his ordeals remain present. His body was malnourished and covered in scars from the extremely tight shackles he was forced to wear at all times, as well as other forms of physical abuse.
Once rescued, Veterinarians were on hand to administer some much-needed first-aid, and for the last year Raju has remained at the Elephant Conservation Center recuperaating from his ordeal.
No longer trapped in shackles, Raju is free to explore his large living area with a watering hole, other elephants and plenty of space to roam. He’s also been enjoying a fruit-based diet and has gained around 1,000 pounds to show for it.
Raju’s story is incredibly happy, but there are still many elephants and other animals in need. You can help Wildlife SOS save more deserving animals, learn how here!