Partially blinded and tortured for 50 years, this elephant was finally rescued to freedom

Cruelty against animals, elephants in particular, is nothing new to Indians. In states such as Kerala, over 4,000 elephants are held captive for various uses in religious festivals and in fairs and celebrations to lure tourists.

Held captive, the elephants are meted with torture. They are beaten, blinded fully or partially, their footpads are nailed, clamped or tied up with spiked chains and are even starved for days together. And this is sadly not a state of affairs in just one part of the country.

Latest news of atrocity against elephants comes from Gosaiganj area in Uttar Pradesh, where a 50-year-old half-blinded tusker elephant was rescued after having spent almost 50 years in illegal custody of torturous traffickers.

The elephant named Sanjay was rescued in a tough 36-hour long rescue operation carried out by volunteer group Wildlife SOS in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh forest department.

Sanjay was freed and taken to Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, UP.

Sanjay was reportedly used illegally in commercial events, wedding processions and even for begging over the past five decades.

For this purpose, the elephant was trained using cruel and violent punishment techniques and was compelled into submission. The elephant was blinded in the left eye, tied with spiked chains, was beaten constantly and was subjected to starvation whenever the poor animal tried to retaliate.

Average life span of an Asian Elephant is about 60 years. Sadly, this guy has been in captivity for 50 of those years. He deserves his freedom, and reports suggest he is enjoying every bit of it at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre. Reportedly, within hours of moving into his new home, the elephant was relaxed and comfortable and was seen enjoying his freedom by munching on fruits and green fodder, and throwing around mud with his trunk in elation.

The magnificent animals called elephants are classified as endangered species in Asia. The elephant population in India and around Asia faces threat from ivory trade, poaching, habitat destruction and use of these majestic animals for entertainment in religious places, festivals, weddings, zoos and circuses.

Almost 98 per cent of the wild Asian elephant population has been lost due to poaching, habitat destruction and fragmentation.

Kartick Satyanarayan, Founder and Chairman of Wildlife SOS informs.

India is the last strong hold for the Asian elephant population where 50 per cent of the remaining population lives.

He further added.

On record, only 25,000 elephants remaining in India, and a sizable population of this is held captive in various place across the country.

According to the vets’ in-charge, when Sanjay the gentle giant was rescued, he was severely malnourished, wounds covered his leg and footpads, and traces of plastic were found in the dung.

The elephant was secretly plucked from the torturous captors. It is learned that Sanjay may have been poached from the wild as a young calf, since there was no legal evidence of his procurement.

Veterinary doctor at Wildlife SOS inform,

The elephant has severe health problems and requires long-term medical care. It will take the elephant a long to recover from his wounds and trauma.

While we pray for the gentle elephant’s speedy recovery and utmost freedom, we also urge to authorities to seize the offenders who put Sanjay through all the torture.

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