Raju, the elephant who cried after being released from 50 years of captivity in chains, is settling down in a new home with a new family in the Elephant Conservation and Care Center at Mathura, northern India,
The Inquisitrreported this week how Raju, who had been abused, beaten, and shackled with spiked chains for most of his life, was freed by members of the charity Wildlife SOS, appropriately on July 4, American Independence Day.
On Wednesday, 5-and-a-half ton Raju was introduced to Phoolkala, a female elephant who was rescued two years ago after she had been found starving in a deserted windowless warehouse.
Phoolkali, now fully recovered from her ordeal, shared her evening snack of mangoes, jackfruit, bananas, and biscuits with Raju who appeared to enjoy eating real food after years of surviving on paper and plastic bags.
However, Dr. Yadu, the Wildlife SOS vet who is looking after Raju, said the elephant has “lost his faith in humanity.” Raju is being treated for leg wounds, caused by living for 50 years in spiked shackles.
The Daily Mail reported that when Ragu was released in a daring midnight operation, his rescuers claimed that he cried tears of relief. The mission took place under the cover of darkness, as fewer people would be around and the elephant could be protected from the searing heat of the sun.
Pooja Binepal, spokesman for Wildlife SOS, said:
“Raju has spent the past 50 years living a pitiful existence in chains 24 hours a day, an act of intolerable cruelty. The chains ate into his flesh — and each time he moved puss would ooze out of wounds. Pain and brutality were all he knew.
“The team were astounded to see tears roll down his face during the rescue. It was so incredibly emotional for all of us. We knew in our hearts he realized he was being freed.
“Elephants are not only majestic, but they are highly intelligent animals, who have been proven to have feelings of grief, so we can only imagine what torture half a century has been like for him.
“Until we stepped in he’d never known what it is like to walk free of his shackles — it’s a truly pitiful case. But today he knows what freedom is and he will learn what kindness feels like and what it’s like to not suffer any more.”
Little is known about Raju’s early years, but it seems he was poached from his mother as a young calf.
Now he is safe, has a new girlfriend and has 50 years of catching up to do!