An elephant has finally been released after 50 years in captivity.
Rescuers witnessed amazing scenes as an elephant wept during its release after being chained up for half a century.
Raju was held by cruel captors and was forced to perform for tourists, attracting coins and publicity for the owners.
It is quite amazing to comprehend the cruelty that involves keeping such a gentle and majestic animal a slave, purely for monetary gain.
Thankfully Raju was one of the lucky ones and was able to be freed, although he will never get back all the years he was abused he can at last sample what life is like when you are free.
Amazingly, as Raju was freed, his saviors witnessed as tears began to fall from Raju’s eyes, in apparent show of gratitude and affection for the ones who had come to free him.
The Dodo have reported on this amazing case, and have documented how Raju showed many physical signs of abuse, where the chains that were used to keep him captive cut into his skin, forming cuts and deep scars.
He also showed signs of malnutrition.
Pooja Binepal of Wildlife SOS said:
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. 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.”
She described the moment Raju shed his tears, saying:
“Raju was in chains 24 hours a day, an act of intolerable cruelty. The team was astounded to see tears roll down his face during the rescue. It was incredibly emotional.
We knew in our hearts he realized he was being freed. Elephants are majestic and highly intelligent animals. We can only imagine what torture the past half a century has been for him,”
To donate toward Raju’s care, contributions can be made at wildlifesos.org.