Originally published on September 12, 2014, at ForceChange.com
Target: Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
Goal: Prevent freed elephant from returning to his abusive former owner
Raju the elephant wept after activists removed the chains that had been wrapped around his legs for the past 50 years. They transported Raju to Wildlife SOS’s Elephant Conservation and Care Center where he has been living with five female elephants for the last two months. Claiming that Raju is his property, the abusive former owner has launched a legal battle to repossess the liberated elephant. The Indian government must show compassion and never allow Raju to be placed in chains again.
Raju had been a calf in the wild when poachers captured him decades ago. After shackling his legs, Raju’s owners beat him until he learned to submit to them. Each time he was sold to a new master, they would beat Raju to break his spirit and exert their dominance over him. Malnourished and with no shelter at night, Raju began eating discarded paper and plastic in order to survive.