The case of Sunder the Elephant will be heard by the Bombay High court next Tuesday, were his fate will be decided.
After a PETA India undercover investigation revealed in December the cruel treatment and horrible living conditions the 14-year-old has to endure, a petition was filed against the forest department for inaction to free Sunder despite Maharashtra state Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam’s order calling for his release.
Authorities responded Sunder is in a musth condition and they haven’t been able to move him due to his aggressiveness.
“There is no iota of evidence that the elephant is being tortured,” added advocate JS Saluja.
However, 2 experts from the Animal Welfare Board of India visited Sunder and refuted the forest department claims that the elephant is aggressive and uncooperative.
“The affidavit filed by the state forest department later refutes their own statement, saying the elephant was not in a musth condition. It said that they had got a veterinary specialist to examine the elephant who confirmed the same,” said Dr Manilal Valliyate, who filed the petition on behalf of PETA.
Sunder’s relocation order was issued in August 2012, where he was supposed to be moved to a sanctuary in Karnataka at PETA’s expense.
Local Member of Legislative Assembly Vinay Kore, who gave Sunder to Kolhapur’s Jyotiba Temple as a gift about 7 years ago, challenged the order by filing a writ petition.
The court took into account both petitions and posted a hearing on January 28th.
Sunder spent 6 years chained at the temple where he was not given adequate food and water that caused him to be in a state of malnutrition, he was denied mobility and was often beaten with wooden sticks and bullhooks.
He was last year moved to a locked, dark poultry shed in a farm in Warananagar after the abuse came to light.
“Sunder has already suffered so much… It’s high time for Sunder to be freed from this abuse and sent to a sanctuary, where he can roam, bathe in ponds, live unchained and in the company of other elephants.
“Every day Sunder’s rescue is delayed means another day of unimaginable suffering for this poor young elephant,” said Dr Manilal Valliyate, Director of Veterinary Affairs.
Help Sunder by signing PETA’s petition here.