If you haven’t heard the story of Raju the elephant, get a tissue ready. This majestic animal had been held captive for fifty years. His feet shackled with spiked chains, he suffered sores oozing with pus. The poor creature was forced to beg for coins and was improperly cared for his entire life. Not fed properly, the poor thing was eating plastic and paper to try to satisfy his immense hunger, supplemented by handouts from tourists.
It is believed that he was poached from his mother as a calf and traded or sold twenty-seven times over fifty years. He suffered abuse and torture at the hands of so many people in his lifetime.
Wildlife SOS, a charity from London heard of Raju’s plight and planned a daring overnight rescue, on July 4th, American Independence Day! They formed a team of vets and wildlife experts, officers of the forestry department and police officers were determined to save Raju from reaching his death in chains.
Elephants are known to be highly intelligent and it has been known that they show emotions such a grief. They mourn the loss of other elephants in their herd. The rescuers say that Raju knew he was being rescued. It took forty five minutes for these rescuers to free this beautiful elephant from the ropes and shackles that had held him prisoner for so long. The elephant was thankful to these people and cried tears of joy. Seeing his gratefulness brought some tears to the team as well.
The majestic elephant was sedated and driven 350 miles away to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre at Mathura. He was bathed, and fed and his wounds were cared for. Now this wonderful animal will be allowed to roam free and never know cruelty and pain again. He will be cared for and bathed and fed a healthy diet that he deserves. And with the tears of joy he shed at his rescue, there is no doubt that he will be grateful for every last bite.