Raju The Elephant Wept During His Harrowing Rescue After 50 Years Of Captivity And Torture
By Stacey Ritzen / 07.08.14
Raju was a 50-year-old elephant living in Allahabad, India under cruel conditions as a “begging elephant,” half starving, beaten and bound with spiked chains around his legs that made it difficult to walk — when Wildlife SOS, a group which protects endangered wildlife in India, set out to rescue him earlier this month after being tipped off by India’s Forestry Commission. Raju had been likely been taken from the wild as a baby and kept in captivity ever since.
After one failed attempt and a standoff, Raju was finally rescued on July 4th by a team of 10 veterinarians and experts from Wildlife SOS, 20 Forestry Commission officers and two policemen.
What follows is a touching story. It’s been studied and found that elephants experience complex emotions much like human beings do — including grief, compassion, and self-awareness — and as Raju’s rescuers came to save him, the elephant wept tears of joy. It’s about to get dusty all up in here, via The Huffington Post:
“They [the rescue team] went in to rescue him and they [his captors] had bound him up so tightly that he was in a lot of pain,” she said. “The vet and our team came with fruits and just started speaking softly to him and to reassure him that we were there to help, and it was at that time that tears flooded down his face. The founder of Wildlife SOS, who was there are the time of the rescue, said …. that really caught him off guard. They’ve done a lot of elephant rescues and the fact the the tears were just coming down … he was weeping. It was an emotional moment and everyone was more motivated to get him on the truck and to safety.”
Raju was taken to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura. On July 4, the same day Americans celebrated their independence, Raju took his first steps of freedom. Sharp said he is doing “fabulously.” The Wildlife SOS team is prepared to help make Raju comfortable in his new life and to rehabilitate him by treating his physical wounds and introducing him to other elephants at the center.
I guess it’s reaffirming that while there’s a lot of bad in the world, such as the monsters who would do such a thing to a benevolent creature, that at least there’s a lot of good in the world, too. Raju is said to be recovering from his injuries and they’re hoping he has at least another good ten years in him to spend his golden years in safety and comfort.
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