1. Meet Raju the elephant. For 50 painful years, he wore spiked chains and lived off handouts from tourists. But last week Raju cried tears of joy after he was freed by the charity Wildlife SOS in a daring midnight operation.
Wildlife SOS founder Kartick Satyanarayan said that the team were astounded to see tears roll down his face when he was rescued. He added: “The chains around his legs had spikes, which were cutting into his flesh, and each time he moved pus would ooze out of wounds. Pain and brutality were all he knew.”
3. Thankfully, Raju is now living safely in the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, northern India.
4. Raju is being cared for by staff at the conservation centre after five decades spent suffering at the hands of his “owner”, who even tore out the hair from his tail to sell as good-luck charms.
Raju has now received emergency medical attention to his wounds, and has been fed and bathed.
6. There is also love in the air for Raju! He was introduced to female friend Phoolkali this week.
7. Here is Raju smiling with Phoolkali.
8. Satyanarayan said that the rehabilitation process will take a long time, but they will teach Raju “that humans don’t mean pain and brutality”.
Now that Raju has been rescued, Wildlife SOS has launched a campaign to raise £10,000 to help him start a new life with his adoptive family in a new enclosure.