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This expanded article was originally published in 2014 on TheDuckShoot Blog before it was hacked.
I first saw this beautiful story in the Daily Mail. For 50 years Raju, the elephant did not have an enjoyable life. In 2014, Wildlife SOS rescued him from the daily torture by his callous ‘owner’ who kept him permanently in spiked chains.
Backed up by a court order and Indian forestry officials Wildlife SOS unshackled Raju and loaded him onto an open truck to be driven to his new home 350 miles away. It was a dangerous mission, but the rescuers succeeded.
The ‘owner’ tried to halt the rescue by applying more chains and agitating Raju. An angry bull elephant can become very dangerous, so the rescuers had to take extra care.
Finally, Raju travelled to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre at Mathura where he was fed, washed and had his wounds treated. Two other elephants who had similar experiences were introduced to him, all part of his rehabilitation.
The charity, founded in India in 1995, is appealing for £10,000 of donations to help start the elephant’s new life. To donate, visit www.wildlifesos.org, or cheques or postal orders can be sent to Wildlife SOS, 483 Green Lanes, London, N13 4BS.