This is an incredibly emotional video.
These incredible pictures show the moment an elephant, Raju, who was held in chains, beaten and abused for fifty years, cried as he was released to freedom.
North London-based charity Wildlife SOS stepped in to save Raju the elephant from dying in his bonds after learning of his plight in India.
Every day, the majestic animal was forced to hold out his trunk and beg for a few coins from passers-by — surviving only on plastic and paper for food.
However, a 10-strong team of vets and wildlife experts from the charity were joined by 20 forestry department officers and six policemen to seize Raju from his suffering in the Uttar Pradesh area of India.
The mission took place under the cover of darkness, as fewer people would be around for the dangerous rescue and the animal could be protected from the searing heat of the sun.
Pooja Binepal, the charity’s UK spokesman, described the rescue as ‘incredibly emotional’ for the team.
“Raju has spent the past 50 years living a pitiful existence in chains 24 hours a day, an act of intolerable cruelty.
‘The team were astounded to see tears roll down his face during the rescue. It was so incredibly emotional for all of us. We knew in our hearts he realised he was being freed.
Elephants are not only majestic, but they are highly intelligent animals, who have been proven to have feelings of grief, so we can only imagine what torture half a century has been like for him.
‘Until we stepped in he’d never known what it is like to walk free of his shackles — it’s a truly pitiful case.
But today he knows what freedom is and he will learn what kindness feels like and what it’s like to not suffer any more.”
The daring rescue came exactly a year to the day since the charity was alerted to Raju’s plight by the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department in India.
A confiscation process went through the courts as Raju’s owner did not have any legal documents for his possession meaning the charity could rescue him from suffering.
It is not known exactly how Raju came into his plight, as little is known about his early years, but the charity believes he was poached from his mother as a young calf.
Ms Binepal said:
“The poachers either slaughter the mother, or they drive the herd into traps that are small enough only for the babies to fall into. The mother cries for her baby for days after he’s been stolen — it is a sickening trade.
The calves are then tied and beaten until they submit to their owners — their spirits are effectively broken. We discovered Raju’s case was particularly tragic.
He’d been poached as a calf and then he had been sold on and sold on. Incredibly we believe he has had up to 27 owners — he’s been treated as a commodity every two years of his life.
By the time we found him in July 2013 he was in a pathetic condition. He had no shelter at night, and was being used as a prop to beg from dawn until dusk from tourists visiting the sites of India.
He had not been fed properly so tourists started giving him sweet food items and because he was in a state of hunger and exhaustion and he began eating plastic and paper.
His nails are severely overgrown, he has abscesses and wounds because of the shackles and continually walking on a tarmac road had led to his foot pad overgrowing.”
Once the court order was finally issued, a team led by Wildlife SOS founder, Kartick Satyanarayan, carried out two days of surveillance before launching the rescue.”
Mr Satyanarayan said:
“As we watched we quickly realised we had to act as quickly as possible as his situation was so desperate and the cruelty so extreme so we decided to move the rescue forward by a day.
The chains around his legs had spikes which were cutting into his flesh — and each time he moved puss would ooze out of wounds. Pain and brutality were all he knew.His cruel handler even tore out the hair from his tail to sell as good luck charms. The exploitation and abuse just had to stop.”
However, even on the evening as the mercy mission began, Raju’s owner tried to prevent his rescue.
Mr Satyanarayan said:
“He began to shout commands to terrify Raju — and try to provoke him.
It created an incredibly dangerous situation as a bull elephant could snap a human like a tooth pick if he becomes afraid or angry.”
When that failed, he then put a series of chains around his legs in an attempt to prevent us from removing him, so viciously tight it was cutting into his legs.
But, we stood our ground and refused to back down . And as we did so, tears began to roll down Raju’s face. Some no doubt were due to the pain being inflicted by the chains, but he also seemed to sense change was coming. It was as if he felt hope for the first time in a very long time.”
But, after 50 years of torture, the animal cried tears of relief after he was rescued by a this wildlife charity, and Raju took his first step to freedom approximately one minute past midnight on July 4, 2014.
It was incredible emotional.
Raju is tasting freedom for the first time, and he’ll live out his life in a safe compound, living out his days in dignity, free from suffering and pain.
The charity has launched a campaign to raise 10 thousand pounds to help Raju begin the start of his new life in a new enclosure which will allow him to roam with his adopted family.
Wildlife SOS says ;
Thank you from Raju!
Our wish list… if you know anybody who can help with these items, we would love to hear from you:
- 1 generator: Currently it takes us 18 hours to fill the pool because our generator does not work. A generator would benefit all of our elephants.
- 1 small tractor: We create dirt mounds for our elephants that have a difficult time getting up and down and it is more comfortable for the elephants to lay on mounds of dirt… especially our skinny ones like Raju. If we had a small tractor it would be much easier to create these dirt mounds that are critical for their comfort.
Here is the Donate link, if you would like to donate: http://goo.gl/TUZE1i
P.S : Dear YouTubers, here is the link about Raju on Wildlife SOS website : http://goo.gl/tYgcW6
You can get all information about donating to Raju on Wildlife SOS site.