Tags: raju | elephant | free | spiked | chains

Raju the Elephant Freed From Spiked Chains in Midnight Rescue

By    |   Tuesday, 08 Jul 2014 09:25 AM

Raju the elephant, beaten and held captive with spiked chains for the last 50 years, was finally freed last week when a wildlife charity cut through his shackles during a midnight rescue mission.

Wildlife SOS, a group that works to protect endangered animals in India, first learned about Raju more than a year ago. The pachyderm was reportedly taken from his mother as a baby and then repeatedly sold over and over, according to The Huffington Post.

Raju's owner for the last 50 years reportedly bound him in spiked shackles and regularly beat him into submission.

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"He had no shelter at night and was used as a beggars' prop from dawn until dusk. He wasn’t fed properly and was in a state of hunger and exhaustion. He began eating plastic and paper," Pooja Binepal, of Wildlife SOS-UK, told the U.K.'s Mirror tabloid. "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."

"The spikes on his chains were cutting into his flesh. Each time he moved pus would ooze out of the wounds. Pain and brutality were all he knew . . . His cruel handler even tore out the hair from his tail to sell as good luck charms. The exploitation and abuse just had to stop."

After studying Raju and plotting a rescue for more than a year, Wildlife SOS officials — along with a team of 10 veterinarians and wildlife experts, Forestry Commission officers, and policemen — finally secured a court seizure order and carried out their plan in the middle of the night Thursday.

Though the elephant's handlers tried to thwart the rescue, the Wildlife SOS team managed to get Raju to a trailer and, ultimately, to the Elephant Conservation and Care Center at Mathura.

Amazingly, Raju began to weep when he realized he was being freed from the shackles and transported.

"Raju was in chains 24 hours a day, an act of intolerable cruelty. The team were astounded to see tears roll down his face during the rescue," Binepal told the Mirror. "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."





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Raju the elephant, beaten and held captive with spiked chains for the last 50 years, was finally freed last week when a wildlife charity cut through his shackles during a midnight rescue mission.
raju, elephant, free, spiked, chains
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2014-25-08
Tuesday, 08 Jul 2014 09:25 AM
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