Sunder The Elephant Wins His Freedom

(ELEPHANTS/ANIMAL WELFARE) MUMBAI — After engaging in a 21-month-long campaign, PETA and its international affiliates have won the fight to release Sunder the elephant from captivity.

On Monday, the Bombay high court passed a judgement in favor of PETA India and ordered the release of the captive elephant, who has been by his handlers at Jyotiba temple in Kolhapur for the past six years.

Sunder will be transferred to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Bangalore, where he will finally be able to live a life free of abuse. Read on to find out more about Sunder and his famous supporters. — Global Animal

Saunder the Elephant 450x337 Sunder The Elephant Wins His Freedom

Sunder’s supporters include Paul McCartney, Pamela Anderson, and a plethora of Bollywood stars. Photo Credit: PETA

The Times of India, Vijay Singh

The Bombay high court on Monday passed a judgment in favour of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India by ordering the release of the captive elephant, Sunder.

The high court directed the state to implement the order, dated August 21, 2012, passed by the joint secretary (forests), to release the abused elephant to a sanctuary, and dismissed the appeal filed by the MLA Vinay Kore, who had given Sunder as a “gift” to the Jyotiba temple in Kolhapur. The HC also refused to stay its order though the same was requested by the senior counsel representing Kore.

PETA India, represented by senior counsel Shiraz Rustomjee and counsel Rohan Rajadyaksha, will call on state principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Sarjan Bhagatto to implement the HC order quickly before Sunder can be harmed again. The elephant is slated to be transferred to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, Bangalore.

Several celebrities, including former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, actors Amitabh Bachchan, R Madhavan, Madhuri Dixit, Pamela Anderson and Gulshan Grover, have supported PETA’s campaign for Sunder’s release.

The Jyotiba temple came into possession of Sunder in 2007. On learning of the elephant being kept in chains and often abused, state minister of forests Patangrao Kadam and the project elephant division of the ministry of environment and forests ordered his release to a sanctuary. But the orders were never carried out, and Sunder was taken to an old poultry shed, where he was again kept in chains. In December 2013, PETA obtained video footage showing his mahout beating him.

Dr Manilal Valliyate, PETA India’s director of veterinary affairs, said,

“We are grateful for the high court ruling calling for his release to a sanctuary. PETA is looking forward to seeing Sunder receive the care and respect that he deserves.”

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