Raju, the elephant enters tenth year of freedom

Elephant That Cried On Being Rescued After 50 Years Of Abuse, Enters Tenth Year Of liberation

2023.07.05 (Vrindavan Today News): Marking a decade of freedom and resilience, Raju the elephant celebrated his tenth year of liberation on July 4th at the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, operated by the animal charity Wildlife SOS. This remarkable milestone signifies ten years of healing and recovery for Raju, who endured nearly five decades of abuse and mistreatment.

Raju’s shocking story first captured global attention in July 2014 when Wildlife SOS rescued him from a life of torment. Believed to have been illegally captured from the wild at a young age, Raju endured unimaginable suffering, spending most of his life in spiked chains. Passed from one owner to another, he was exploited as a money-making machine, forced to beg and perform on the narrow streets of Prayagraj.

The rescue of Raju was not without challenges. Armed with a court order, Wildlife SOS faced last-minute resistance from the elephant’s owner and mahout. However, their unwavering dedication prevailed, and Raju was finally freed from his chains, igniting a glimmer of hope for his future.

Volunteers from Wildlife SOS reported tears streaming down Raju’s face when he realized he was being rescued from a lifetime of abuse. This poignant moment touched the hearts of people worldwide, emphasizing the profound emotional and psychological trauma suffered by these sentient beings.

Now, ten years after his rescue, Raju continues to thrive under the attentive care provided by the dedicated team at the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Wildlife SOS organized a jumbo party, symbolizing Raju’s transformation from a tormented captive to a content and cherished member of the center.

The grand summer feast prepared for Raju consisted of an array of seasonal fruits, reflecting the commitment of Wildlife SOS to provide him with a life filled with love, care, and nourishment. Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, expressed the team’s determination to restore Raju’s freedom and happiness. He acknowledged the incomprehensible pain endured by Raju for fifty long years and emphasized the significance of the elephant’s recovery.

Despite the progress made during the past decade, the scars of Raju’s past persist. Bullhook injuries, abscesses on his hips and footpads, and wounds on his tail serve as reminders of the abuse he endured. The veterinary team at Wildlife SOS continues to provide Raju with ongoing medical care, ensuring his well-being and comfort.

Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder and Secretary of Wildlife SOS, highlighted the compassion and affection with which Raju is now surrounded. The dedicated elephant care staff at the Elephant Hospital Campus diligently prepare Raju’s wholesome diet, while his enclosure pool offers him solace, particularly during the summer season.

Baiju Raj MV, Director of Conservation Projects at Wildlife SOS, acknowledged the progress made in rehabilitating Raju’s health but also emphasized the challenges that remain. The elephant currently undergoes treatment for foot pad abscesses and a chronic tail wound. Daily grooming of his nails and foot pads is part of his routine care. The ten-year journey to improve Raju’s condition has yielded remarkable results, giving Wildlife SOS immense joy and satisfaction.

Raju’s story is a testament to the resilience of animals and the transformative power of compassion. As he embarks on his tenth year of freedom, Raju serves as a symbol of hope, inspiring continued efforts to protect and rescue abused and mistreated animals worldwide. Wildlife SOS remains committed to providing Raju and other elephants with a life free from suffering, while raising awareness about the plight of captive animals and advocating for their rights.

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