After 7 years living a life full of abuse and sadness, Sunder is finally enjoying life how it was meant to be.
Sunder was relocated to his new home at Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bangalore at the end of last month and has adapted wonderfully.
‘He’s now in a beautiful green sanctuary, where he can explore, splash around in ponds and get coconuts for treats,’ PETA India shared.
‘After years of isolation from other elephants, he is at last able to make friends with other members of his own species.’
Sunder spent the 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 where he was being kept illegally.
A veterinary inspection in the farm by an elephant expert revealed that the 14-year-old elephant had a “massive wound as a result of constant tying with heavy chains”.
The case was then sent to the Supreme Court, who confirmed the order of the Bombay High Court decided that Sunder should be relocated no later than 15 June.
After more than 2 years fighting to free Sunder, we can now see him recovering from his wounds free of chains and in the company of 13 friends.
PETA India explains how they will be helping Sunder now: ‘We have donated funds for Sunder’s lifelong care, have obtained permission to construct and fund a temporary enclosure (see above), have obtained permission for the building of a musth enclosure for the male elephants so that they are not chained during their period of sexual urge (the common method in India for this is chaining), have our sister group’s veterinarians on site to help with the transition and training Sunder’s new mahouts; have confirmed with the BBP that it does indeed plan to build a fence around the perimeter so that the restraints it currently uses on elephants can be phased out and are consulting with elephant experts in India and abroad to help with these various transitions.’
If you want to help in Sunder’s rehabilitation, please consider making a donation.