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The Internet's Favourite Elephant Is Finally Free From His Former Abusive Owners

Looks like Raju will finally get that happy ending :)

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Raju, the Indian elephant that won all of our hearts after being rescued after 50 years, is finally free from captivity.

Press People

Raju was first rescued from his abusive owners on July 4, but in September, his former owners launched a petition reclaiming Raju as their "rightful property." The case was ongoing for two months, but on Dec. 2, after a series of hearings, an Indian court finally ruled that Raju will be allowed to stay with his rescuers, British charity Wildlife SOS, and will not be taken back by the people that abused him for 50 years.

Kartick Satyanarayan, the man who led the rescue team that saved Raju, reportedly said, "We are beyond overjoyed that Raju is finally saved."

Wildlife SOS / Via Facebook: wildlifesosindia

He also said, "This is a huge victory, not only for Raju, but for every elephant suffering in pain silently."

"When his former owners launched a legal bid to get him back it was unthinkable that he could return to the life he'd had begging on the streets in shackles.

"He had been so terribly brutalised for 50 years that we feared he’d be unable to live with his own kind. He didn't even know how to be an elephant. But now he’s joined our herd of rescued Indian elephants it’s like he’s always been with them."

Wildlife SOS put up the argument that under Indian law, no one can own an elephant, they are all owned by the government.

Wildlife SOS / Via Facebook: wildlifesosindia

The Independent reported that proof of ownership could only be authenticated by a license from the Chief Wildlife Warden, and the former owners couldn't produce any such certificate.

Wildlife SOS executive director Nikki Sharp stated, "This meant that Raju was finally truly free and there is no chance he will be returned to the shackles that chained him for 50 years."

Since being rescued, Raju has been living safely in the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, India, and is being cared for by the staff there.

He even has a girlfriend, Phoolkali, who is pictured above with Raju.

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