Do you remember Sunder? For years, he was held captive in a temple in India, where he was used to attract visitors and donations and was beaten to make him “listen” and “behave”. He was kept tightly bound in heavy chains (often spiked ones) that left deep wounds on his legs. An injured eye, a hole in his ear, and the many scars on his body were telling signs of the decades of abuse that he had endured. Taken from his mother, denied the company of other elephants, and even refused the medical care that he needed, he was miserable and alone – and with no end to his plight in sight.
It has now been five years since Sunder was freed.
When Sunder was 13 years old, staff members with Animal Rahat (an Indian organisation supported by PETA) persuaded the temple to accept the free veterinary care they offered him. While that helped, it was clear that what he needed most was freedom from the abuse, loneliness, and exploitation he endured at the temple.
With the help of PETA affiliates around the world, Animal Rahat soon launched an unprecedented drive to give Sunder a real life. Tens of thousands of kind PETA supporters – including Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson – added their voices to the growing clamour for his release.
It took two years of determined campaigning, but the Indian Supreme Court ruled that Sunder should be rescued and rehabilitated at Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bengaluru, where elephants roam nearly 50 hectares of beautifully forested land. Getting him released into his new home was another major battle, which turned dangerous when thugs punctured the tyres of the lorry used to transport him and beat up the Animal Rahat workers who were there to rescue him.
But just look at Sunder now!
It has now been five years since Sunder stepped, curious, into his safe new home. Today, perhaps more than ever, he still enjoys the sanctuary and spends his days foraging freely in the forest, playing in streams and ponds, and relishing the company of other elephants – all things that he’d never had a chance to experience before. Animal Rahat veterinarians still visit him regularly and report how well he’s being cared for at the park and how he’s flourishing there.
On behalf of Sunder – and other abused, neglected, and forlorn elephants we want to help rescue from similarly horrific circumstances – thank you for your compassion and support. You can see what it means to Sunder – and to everyone working for animal liberation.
Donate to PETA’s projects supporting Animal Rahat’s critical work: