Elephant, Who Was Abused For 50 Years And Lived In Chains, Is Finally Freed By Wildlife Sos
For over 51 years, 70 year old elephant ‘Gajraj’ belonging to the Royal family of Aundh, in the Satara district of Maharashtra performed his duties as a temple elephant where local devotees saw him as an icon of worship as he played an important role in festivities and temple processions.
Last week, the saga of this magnificent tusker took a dramatic turn for the better! Gajraj whose name translates to “King of Elephants’ finally retired from his duties and was entrusted to wildlife rescue and rehabilitation NGO, Wildlife SOS for his long term medical treatment and lifetime care. Gajraj’s plight was brought to attention by a PETA campaign and as concerned elephant lovers from around the world learned about Gajraj’s medical condition, thousands of requests for Wildlife SOS to intervene and help him poured in.
A medical examination had revealed that Gajraj required medical attention for his toenail abscess which could spread to the bone in addition to the hip abscesses while his foot pads suffered severe degeneration. This made him a candidate for geriatric life time care at Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation & Care Center in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.
The royal family of Aundh gave him a warm farewell. The local villagers however become very emotional and hostile as Gajraj was getting ready to leave, gathering in large numbers with things taking an ugly twist as the mob became unruly. With each minute the atmosphere became gripped with tension and a large police force was deployed to ensure protection for the Wildlife SOS rescue team.
Eventually the elephant was placed inside the Elephant Ambulance – currently India’s only specially designed elephant ambulance. He then embarked on a 1500 kilometre journey along with expert veterinarians, paramedics, elephant caretakers and rescue team to his new home.
As the Elephant Ambulance arrived at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center, Gajraj first gingerly tested the ground with the trunk before gently placing his foot out of the vehicle after which he walked with no chains on his feet for the first time, accompanied by compassionate elephant keepers and veterinarians to his new home, where he will live without any fear, neither will he be forced to work at a temple or at ceremonies ever again!
Gajraj can now be seen spending his day leisurely munching on fresh fruits and green fodder while splashing about in his personal pool and taking dust baths. The veterinarians have started treating him with daily medicated foot soaks and draining his abscesses, while providing him a special diet along with nutritional supplements to help regain his strength.
More info: Facebook
Gajraj at Aundh prior to his rescue
Life was not happy for this beautiful creature
The aged tusker has a serious toenail abscess in his right front foot & left hind foot which requires immediate medical attention
The mob gathered around the Wildlife SOS Elephant Ambulance in Aundh
Gajraj entering the Wildlife SOS Elephant Ambulance
Wildlife SOS staff eagerly await Gajraj’s arrival
70 year old tusker Gajraj taking with first steps of freedom at the Wildlife SOS ECCC, Mathura
Gajraj takes his first dust bath in his new home
I am so glad to hear and from the photos, now this elephant will be free from abuse from his recent pass, now he can live free.
What a wonderful story of compassion for animals, in this case a treasured elephant. No animal should ever be kept in chains. Gajraj can now live the rest of his life as he should, free of chains. This wildlife care centre should be justly proud.
wonderful article—hope elephant is enjoying freedom AT LAST !!
Finally! This poor eliphant has suffered for so many years I only hope and pray that whatever time is left for him/her is spent surrounded with caring people and no chains.
This is so wonderful, thank you for what you do!
What a disgrace that a royal family would treat this beautiful elephant in such a cruel way. I’m so glad that you finally rescued him from his lifelong suffering. Thank goodness that there are caring and kind human beings like yourselves fighting every day to save and give elephants like Gajraj a wonderful, safe and happy home for the rest of their lives. Thankyou all
It’s high time temples do away with Elephants who are forced to work in chains. These gentle giants are meant to be free and lead their normal lives
So happy to see this elephant getting a taste of freedom and be able to enjoy a better life! Thank you to those who helped to free him. You are very kind!
Please everyone – contact the Wisconsin Historical Society; they are enslaving and forcing elephants to do tricks, in a circus. Thank you very much.
He looks so happy spreading sand all over his back, thank you for your compassion and finally setting him free.
What a joy what society freed elephant?
Wishing you a long, healthy, happy life Gajraj! You’re finally free and will be loved and care for the rest of your life.
MY HEARTH IS BROKEN TO SEE ANY ANIMAL ABUSED AND SUFFERING. I PRAYED EVERY DAY FOR A BIG LOTTERY WIN SO THAT I WILL BE ABLE TO DONATE FOR ALL ANIMALS (AND) PEOPLE FOR FREEDOM HAPPINESS. PLEASE GOD HEAR MY AND OTHER PEOPLE PRAYERS MONEY TO DONATE.
Bless all who love all who cares for people and animals.
Thank you and many congratulations for this great work. I became very cmotional after hearing the abuse of this animal.
Many thanks and congratulations for rescueing this majestic animal. I broke in to tears after hearing the suffering.
My heart is happy to hear that this precious Being was freed to enjoy his own. Not serving other species…I Don’t approve when unconscious humans exploit and bring such physical discomfort to elephants and using another life form as means to an end. Not a good Dharma for humans.
This is wonderful news. After a lifetime of appaling abuse this poor Elephant is free to live the rest of his life in happiness and freedom . Bless him and than you to all that saved him ? ?
And the royal family had let this abuse continue for 50 years ! Fantastic that he’s now in a sanctuary we’re he will be able to have company of his own kind and live out a more natural and happy life.
I think there should g be e a campaign to stop live elephants from being kept a he was … build a beautiful statue of an elephant in your temples instead ….please don’t condemn another elephant to this unnatural and torturous life .
So happy now. The past is gone!
How wonderful that so many caring people are giving this elephant a happy new life,may he live long to enjoy it.
The local villagers and the royal family did nothing to care for this “icon” for 51 years!!
The royal family bade him a “warm farewell!” Every damned one of them should be ashamed of how they have all allowed this poor creature to suffer for all of those years. Ignorance and superstition prevailing within this community.
What a wonderful story. I hate to see animals in captivity and suffering abuse like this. So happy he is finally free
Totally agree with you all, that NO Elephants should be used and abused, for religion, rides, or begging. If people only knew the terrible abuse to the young elephants caught and beaten for 6mths of their life everyday so they submit to doing anything by their cruel trainers, then their life of abuse continues until they die! The Indian Government should outlaw anyone using and abusing elephants, and stupid tourists should NEVER ride any animal anywhere in this cruel world!
The Royal family were finally allowed him to leave — now he is too old and sick to work and keeping him would cost them money. So pleased that the little time he has left will be happy but keeping these amazing animals in chains must stop. I would like to think the Royals made a big donation to the sancutuary, but I doubt it. As for the angry crowds — selfish and ignorant.