The elephant Raju was tortured for 50 years, arrested with chains of skewers and forced to live on the leftovers of tourists. All that was left behind after he was rescued by animal advocates, who claimed he cried at the time of his release.
Fauna SOS, a group created in 1995 to protect wildlife in danger of extinction in India, set out to rescue Raju, who was probably captured as a baby and bought and sold many times throughout his life. Forced to work as a beggar elephant, his legs were tied with chains of spikes that made it impossible for him to walk and left him with chronic wounds; He was also beaten.
Fauna SOS learned about the history of Raju through the Forestry Commission of India. When the group tried to rescue the elephant in the region of Uttar Pradesh, its owner and caretaker tried to evade them with a confrontation, said Nikki Sharp, executive director of Wildlife of SOS-USA, The Huffington Post.
According to the British newspaper The Mirror, Raju's captors placed him in very tight chains and tried to confuse the commando, but his efforts did not work. A team of ten veterinarians and experts from Fauna SOS, together with twenty officers of the Forestry Commission and two police officers, managed to rescue the elephant.
The act of cruelty to Raju was that he spent all day chained. The rescue team was surprised to see the tears running down his face during the rescue.
It was incredibly exciting. We could see that he realized he was being released. Elephants are majestic and very intelligent animals. We can not imagine what it was like for him to have been tortured for half a century, said Pooja Binepal, spokesperson for Fauna SOS, to The Mirror.
When he was rescued they realized that he had a lot of pain. The vet and his team arrived with fruits and began to talk to him in a low voice, assuring him that they were there to help; It was at that moment that tears rolled down her face.
The founder of Fauna SOS said that at the time of the rescue they had their guard down. They have done a lot of rescues to elephants, but the fact that tears came out meant that she was crying. It was a very emotional moment and everyone present was touched.
Raju was transferred to the Elephant Care Center in Mathura. On July 4, 2014, he took his first steps in freedom.
The Fauna SOS team helps Raju to make his new life more comfortable. Through treatment he rehabilitates his physical wounds and presents it with other elephants at the center.
Elephants can live up to 70 years. Sharp says they expect Raju to live 10 more years.