rajuelephantrescue
by Amanda Just
Categories: Animals, Causes.

Imagine being chained and confined for 50 years of your life. Imagine your only “release” was being forced to walk for hours on end, giving rides to tourists. Imagine for all those years, you were malnourished and beaten. Any of us would have an emotional response after even a minute of that treatment. Raju, an elephant who had that existence for 50 years, shed tears when rescuers came to free him.

A team from the UK-based rescue group, Wildlife SOS, coordinated Raju’s rescue mission, which happened almost exactly one year after the group started working on confiscating Raju from his cruel owner.

“Raju’s case was particularly tragic. He has been sold on and on. We believe he has had up to 27 owners. By the time we found him he was in a pathetic condition,” said Pooja Binepal of Wildlife SOS. “He wasn’t fed properly and was in a state of hunger and exhaustion. He began eating plastic and paper. His nails are severely overgrown, he has ­abscesses and wounds because of his spiked shackles and ­continually walking on a Tarmac road has led to his footpad overgrowing.”

When it became clear to Raju that the team of 10 veterinarians and wildlife experts were there to free him, the elephant wept.

raju freed

raju india

raju elephant

“The team were astounded to see tears roll down his face during the rescue,” said Binepal. “It was incredibly emotional. We knew in our hearts he realised he was being freed.”

After finally removing Raju from his cruel owner, the elephant was relocated 350 miles away to Wildlide SOS’s Elephant Conservation and Care Centre at Mathura, where he will receive much needed medical care before becoming companions with the other rescued elephants at the sanctuary.

To donate toward Raju’s care, contributions can be made at wildlifesos.org. 

Photo credit: Wildlife SOS India

About Amanda Just

Amanda Just is a longtime vegan who loves to promote compassionate living in fun, creative ways. As a writer, she has contributed to This Dish Is Veg, ForksOverKnives.com, and many other blogs, websites, and newsletters. As an activist, she champions many causes, from veganism and animal rights to environmental protection and human rights. Amanda resides in Tampa Bay, Florida.

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  • Nancy

    It’s amazing how I can both hate human & love humans in the same story. Raju, I hope you have some GREAT years left and look at the new sunshine in your life!! xo

  • AmberB

    bless ur heart……. it’s never to late to be treated kindly . Never. glad Raju got a chance to see some good humans, hope he has many years left to enjoy a new life+

  • Ju

    Thank you for the kind souls who freed this gentle creature. No living being should be put through this. I am very often ashamed of my species. We have a very big debt towards the animal kingdom.

  • http://khunjohn.com/ John Guenther

    The ad at the top of this page is for cage supliers.

    • Irys13

      I think it depends who is looking. My add is for diamonds. Have you ever bought a cage? :)

  • Steven Hughes

    It is good that this poor elephant’s suffering is ended, but presumptuous to assume his “crying” was an emotional response. Or if so, that it was the specific emotion respond assumed (joy at his release). Do you even science Bro?

    Side note: Anyone touched by the story should follow the Wildlife SOS link at the bottom of the article and donate. Maybe you can’t unshackle elephants, but a little cash can help others do so on your part.

    • Irys13

      Don’t you know, that elephants and dolphins are one of the very few mammals capable of experiencing very close human emotions? Even more so than dogs and pigs which are already super smart?

      • kashif ali

        yup and they are self aware, elephants pass the mirror test.

  • Alisa Mullins

    I trapped several feral cats years ago and each time I caught one, tears rolled down their faces. Once they got home, were reunited with their friends, and realized they were safe, they stopped “crying”. I took them all to a vet to see if they had eye infections or upper respiratory infections, but they got a clean bill of health. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since.