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Pull Up a Chair: Elephant Rescues

Raju, a 50 year old elephant captured when young and grossly mistreated, was rescued recently. He wept as he was freed.

Wildlife SOS, a group established in 1995 to protect endangered wildlife in India, set out to rescue Raju on the night of July 2. Raju is around 50 years old and was likely captured as a baby and bought and sold many times over the course of his life. He was forced to work as a begging elephant in Allahabad. His legs were bound in spiked chains that made walking difficult and left him with chronic wounds. He was also beaten.

Wildlife SOS found out about Raju’s story through India’s Forestry Commission. When the group attempted to rescue Raju on the night of July 2 in the Uttar Pradesh region of India, his owner and mahout — an individual who rides elephants — apparently attempted to dismantle the effort with a standoff, Nikki Sharp, the executive director of Wildlife SOS-USA, told The Huffington Post Monday.

Raju’s captors layered tighter chains on him and attempted to confuse him by shouting commands, but their efforts proved futile. A team of 10 veterinarians and experts from Wildlife SOS along with 20 Forestry Commission officers and two policemen managed to rescue the abused elephant, according to the Mirror, a British tabloid.

The poor creature was kept in chains 24 hours a day. As you can see on the video, he is slowly recovering at the rescue center.

And here’s a baby elephant rescue in Kenya, workers from the Amboseli Trust for Elephants have to force the mother and other elephants away so they can get the baby (Timmy?) out of the well, but the mother and child reunion makes up for the temporary distress of the rescue.

Elephants are amazing creatures, so much more complicated than we gave them credit for. I knew they were emotional animals, I didn’t know they cried.

Do you think we should resurrect their Woolly Mammoth cousins?

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