Raju the elephant has spent the last 50 years of his life in pain, tortured and badly mistreated by the people trusted to take care of him. On the night he was saved he let out a loud cry his rescuers couldn’t believe, real tears streaming down his face.
Elephants are highly emotional creatures with a strong sense of family, they only separate because of death or capture, otherwise elephant families remain in tight knit communities full of love.
Raju was once a happy young elephant learning the lessons of life from his mother. But after a group of heartless poachers killed his mother, life for Raju took a nightmare of a turn.
Alone and afraid Raju was passed between different un-fit owners, ending up trapped in chains without proper food, exercise, stimulation, or love for the last 50 years.
Over a year ago Raju caught the attention of authorities and activists but it took a while to get everything in order for the rescue. Throughout this time undercover teams were employed to watch over Raju and come up with the best plan of action.
Wildlife SOS founder Kartick Satyanarayan has publicly spoken out about the incredible creature’s life before rescue. “He was emaciated, in pain, lived in chains with spikes around his feet for last five decades.”
At first the elephant’s cold and callous owner was acting cooperativly but when the time came to rescue Raju, the man changed his tune. Suddenly he had tied up Raju so intensely that it was causing the elephant a great deal of pain. While the rescuers worked hard to free the panicked animal, his owner stood by screaming and causing a scene in hopes of frightening the elephant further.
The large team there in the name of Wildlife SOS wasn’t about to give up so easily. They used pain meds and treats to calm down Raju enough to be able to free the ginormous animal from his tightly bound chains.
After an entire night of working to free Raju, it finally happened, at which point Raju began to cry again. This time, the rescuers knew it wasn’t the pain, but the newly found hope rushing through his bones. It was the elephant’s first sign of hope in so many years–finally, someone had come to save him.
“He was in pain, he was suffering–streams of tears coming out of his eyes.” Says rescuer, Kartick Satyanarayan. At the same time Raju stopped acting out towards his rescuers, realizing they were his friends. He followed them into the trailer without any protest–at last, he realized, I am free!
Raju was taken to the Elephant Conservation and Care Certre in Mathura. At his new home he is gaining weight and his legs are healing alongside his spirit. The organization admits it will take a year or two before Raju is 100% healthy, after all he has physically and mentally been through more than most can imagine over the last 50 years.
If all goes well Raju could enjoy 15 to 20 years of his life, a gift this gentle giant so readily deserves.
Elephants are known as one of the most intelligent species, in fact elephants have a very similar brain to humans, although their emotional center is more complex. Elephants have so much emotion that they actually weep when they are going through an emotional situation.
According to ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, elephants are “the animal which surpasses all others in wit and mind.” Modern day scientists agree with Aristotle, in fact elephants are known to suffer from PTSD and other psychological ailments. This isn’t surprising considering the elephant has a larger hippocampus than humans, the hippocampus is responsible for emotional processing.
Raju is not cheap to care for, costing $1,500 each month to feed, care for, and provide veterinary treatment. You can help donate to his cause here.