An elephant that had previously been kept in captivity celebrated five years of liberty with a cute ceremony organized for him.
Raju, a 40-year-old Asian elephant, born in Uttar Pradesh and spent the first five decades of his life plying the streets begging for money for his owner, is a household name. The elephant was illegally detained for 50 years before being released this year as part of an international effort led by the NGO Wildlife SOS animal conservation organization.
According to the organization, the elephant had been in a terrible condition for many years, owing to maltreatment, abuse, and suboptimal care.
This year, the Elephant Conservation & Care Centre at Mathura prepared a surprise for Raju: a “cake” filled with his favorite fruits like mango and watermelon. Raju was ecstatic upon discovering the treat, and it vanished within minutes.
“The past five years with Raju have been an incredible journey for us. His determination to get better has accelerated his recovery to the extent that nobody was sure was possible,” CEO Wildlife SOS Kartick Satyanarayan said in a statement.
“Watching Raju enjoy his retirement in peace fills our heart with happiness and keeps us motivated to help other elephants that continue to be treated with such cruelty, as he was.”