One of the worst things ever is seeing an animal being tortured. Spiked shackles and living on hand-outs is even worse, and sadly, that is exactly the conditions this poor elephant was going through.
When Raju was found he was covered in blood from his spiked shackles and was very skinny for an elephant. He would live on handouts from people who passed by and would end up eating plastic and paper.
Raju has lived in captivity for 50 years and was sold 27 times. He was so miserable; he didn’t want to live.
To survive every day, Raju was forced to beg for coins and food from tourists.
That was until the North London-based charity Wildlife SOS heard about the poor animal’s distress and stepped up to save him.
They formed a team of 10 vets and wildlife experts, 20 forestry department officers and 6 policemen and conducted the rescue overnight.
While they were rescuing Raju, he was crying tears of joy because he knew he was finally going to be free.
“The team was 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 realized he was being freed.”
There was still one problem, Raju’s owner was trying to prevent him from leaving.
“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 toothpick 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 removing him, so viciously tight that they were cutting into his legs.”
However, the team refused to back down. They knew they had to free this poor elephant, no matter what he was doing. That was when Wildlife SOS vet Dr. Yaduraj Khadpekar began cutting the shackles from his legs.
Once Raju arrived at the sanctuary, the other elephants welcomed him with open arms!
Raju was just happy to finally be freed.
“It will be a long rehabilitation process, but we will teach him that humans don’t mean pain and brutality, but it’s going to take time,” said Mr. Satyanarayan.
For now, Raju will be able to spend the rest of his life free in a safe compound living area.
We are so thankful that Raju is free. He definitely deserves all the love in the world!
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