Screenshot from video posted on YouTube by Wildlife SOS.
An elephant, fondly known as Raju, celebrated five years of his freedom in a ceremony that was organised for him. Raju was held captive before being rescued by an NGO as he spent the first five decades of his life seeking alms for his owner on the streets of Uttar Pradesh. He was kept in custody illegally until he was rescued by the NGO Wildlife SOS in 2014.
To celebrate Raju’s freedom, the team at Elephant Conservation & Care Centre in Mathura got a cake made for him filled with his favourite fruits including mango and watermelon. As per reports, Raju was elated with the surprise and finished the cake within minutes.
The video has garnered over 4,000 views after being shared online while netizens posted emotional comments. “So happy for Raju, he certainly enjoyed his cake,” said one user while another added, “Beautiful!! Thanks for taking care of raju God bless you.”
Sample the comments:
Screenshot from YouTube.
Speaking of Raju, the NGO said that he was mistreated for years apart from being kept in spiked chains. Multiple scars appeared on his body as a result of constant abuse so much so that Dr Yaduraj Khadpekar, a veterinary officer who led Raju’s rescue operation, said that he was shocked to see the elephant living in such conditions.
“The first time I laid eyes on Raju, I was shocked to see him living in such detrimental conditions. He had spiked chains on his feet that were digging into his flesh, and his body was riddled with scars and painful abscesses,” Dr Yaduraj Khadpekar said in a statement as per The Indian Express.
However, Raju is in a happy space and enjoys every moment of his life. In the past five years, Raju has recovered and is savouring his retirement.
“The past five years with Raju has been an incredible journey for all of us. His determination to get better has accelerated his recovery to an extent that nobody was sure, was possible. 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,” Kartick Satyanarayan, Wildlife SOS, CEO, said in a statement.