Today, the Supreme Court of India ordered the implementation of an April 7,2014 Bombay High Court order to release elephant Sunder to an elephant care centre in Bangalore by no later than June 15, announced PETA India.

“Despite every obstacle thrown in his path, this abused young elephant will now be on his way to safety,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman.

“Sunder has known only violence, misery, and neglect. By ordering his release, the Indian Supreme Court has made clear that cruelty to elephants, even in the name of religion, will not be tolerated. PETA is looking forward to seeing Sunder receive the care and respect that he deserves.”

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 some 7 years ago, challenged the order by filing a writ petition.

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 subsequently. 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 in Kore’s property, where he is keeping him illegally.

During a recent veterinary inspection by an elephant expert, the 14-year-old elephant was found with a “massive wound as a result of constant tying with heavy chains”.

Luckily for Sunder, the Supreme Court today finally ruled in his favour and stated that Maharashtra State authorities are responsible for moving Sunder before June 15.

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