After almost 2 years, today the Honourable Bombay High Court finally ruled in favour of upholding the implementation of the order to release Sunder to a sanctuary.
Sunder’s relocation order was issued in August 2012, where he was supposed to be moved to a sanctuary 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.
Today, after 21 months of campaigns from PETA and other international and local organizations, Sunder was finally granted freedom.
Sunder spent this past 7 years chained all alone in a temple, receiving constant beatings.
His abuse was caught on camera and an investigation was carried out. Veterinarians and other experts found several scars and wounds and said that he was chained so tightly that he couldn’t even lie down.
Maharashtra Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests then issued orders for Sunder’s release to a sanctuary on 21 August 2012 and 9 November 2012, respectively.
Instead of releasing Sunder like they were told, the elephant was moved to a locked, dark poultry shed in a farm in Warananagar, where he remained chained.
In December 2013, PETA India obtained new video footage showing that Sunder was once again receiving beatings.
After today’s win, Sunder will be moved to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Bangalore where he will be able to spend the rest of his days free and loved.
“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,” said Dr Manilal Valliyate, Director of Veterinary Affairs.