Wildlife

ICONIC JUMBO, RAJU CELEBRATES FREEDOM WITH A SMILE

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Green Minute News

Iconic elephant Raju celebrated his five years of freedom on Thursday from slavery, drudgery and captivity.

After 50 years in captivity, Raju who had been turned into a beggar by his owner on the streets of Uttar Pradesh is today completely free from the shackles of bondage and abuse. In 2014, Wildlife SOS, India successfully rescued this majestic pachyderm who was beaten up and forced to beg for alms on the streets daily.

According to Wildlife SOS, 50 years of his life – Raju roamed the streets of UP, begging for alms for his owner who had kept him in illegal custody. Years of mistreatment, abuse and inadequate care had left him gaunt and miserable. He was tightly restrained with spiked chains and his withering body bore multiple scars and chronic abscesses – evidence of repeated jabs with ankush.

Presently, Raju is safely ensconced at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center where he lives a retired life in a large enclosure. He has round the clock access to his pool and is under the observation of his caregivers and the vets. To commemorate his rescue anniversary, the Wildlife SOS team had a special surprise in store for Raju, making him a healthy ‘cake’ out of delicious cooked pulses, fruits and vegetables.

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-Founder and CEO Wildlife SOS said, “The past five years with Raju has been an incredible journey for all of us. His determination to get better has accelerated his recovery to an extent that nobody was sure, was possible. Watching Raju enjoy his retirement in peace fills our heart with happiness and keeps us motivated to help other abused elephants.”

Dr Yaduraj Khadpekar, Senior Veterinary Officer said, “The first time I laid eyes on Raju, I was shocked to see him living in such detrimental conditions. He had spiked chains on his feet that were digging into his flesh and removing them was quite symbolic.” While Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder and Secretary added, “We hope the journey ahead of him too will be filled with peace and happiness.”

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