Five decades after, the poor elephant named Raju finally had the taste of freedom. His video of being rescued went viral overnight.
Raju was one of the almost 3,500 captive elephants in India suffering from abuse and neglect. He was filled with wounds and scars at the time he was rescued.
The elephant was forced to work and walked rough roads for hours, with his owner sitting on top, as he begged for money from strangers using his trunk.
Whenever he was not forced to work, Raju was restrained in chains. This kept going for 50 years.
Thankfully, on July 4, 2014, Raju was finally set free with the help of Wildlife SOS, a UK-based animal charity.The moment the elephant realized he was being rescued, he began to weep.
Since then, he had been called, the crying elephant, as his story became viral all over the world. He had become the symbol of hope for all the abused elephants that are being held captive all over the world.
According to The Dodo, the rescue attempt was spearheaded by the said organization in partnership with the local authorities. It took them a year after Raju’s case first became known.
They had to undergo a legal process for them to successfully confiscate Raju and take him away from his cruel owner.
It took the team an entire night to remove the sharp chains that kept poor Raju from running away.
It was suspected that the elephant was taken away from his mother in the wild when he was young over five decades ago. Since then, he suffered intense abuse from the hands of various owners.
After he was saved, he was taken straight to Wildlife SOS’ Elephant Conversation and Care Centre.
The facility served its purpose since Raju has become healthier, both physically and emotionally. He is now much happier.
On July 4, 2016, two years after his rescue, it was shared by the organization that he had gained 1000 kilos and all his wounds and scars have finally healed.
He and 18 other elephants that were rescued have been given utmost care to make sure that they continue to undergo the process of social and psychological healing.