(ELEPHANTS/ANIMAL WELFARE) MUMBAI — Sunder the elephant, who has been held captive by the Jyotiba temple since 2007, was finally rescued and released into a 122-acre elephant care center in Bannerghatta Biological Park in Karnataka, India.

Sunder endured excessive abuse from his previous handlers which included being tightly chained and beaten with spikes.

PETA has been fighting a campaign for Sunder’s release for two years and in the process has obtained secret video footage, support from celebrities, as well as victories in the Supreme Court.

The first picture of Sunder in his new sanctuary at the Bannerghatta Biological Park. Photo credit: PETA
The first picture of Sunder in his new sanctuary at the Bannerghatta Biological Park. Photo credit: PETA

PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk reflects on PETA’s efforts to bring Sunder to safety:

“Despite every obstacle thrown in Sunder’s path, PETA rejoices that this abused young elephant is now at a safe refuge. Sunder has known only cruelty and neglect, but soon he will be roaming, bathing in ponds, socializing with other members of his own species, and, finally, just being an elephant.”

In August of 2012, the high court ordered Sunder’s release from captivity, however, the order was dismissed by the MLA Vinay Kore. Instead of carrying out the order to release Sunder to a sanctuary, he was moved to an old poultry shed where he was once again chained and beaten.

Sunder's new home consists of 122 acres of land to roam on. Photo credit: PETA
Sunder’s new home consists of 122 acres of land to roam. Photo credit: PETA

Although Sunder the elephant is finally living in peace, his journey to his sanctuary was hardly harmless. During his 24-hour journey, Sunder was chased by threatening men on motorcycles, and he also sustained an extreme leg wound from being so tightly chained.

Sunder reached the Bannerghatta Biological Park on June 6, however, he will not be able to roam free with the 13 other elephants in the sanctuary until his leg wound heals. After enduring over six years of abuse, Sunder, who is now under the care of veterinary experts, can finally live a life free of neglect.

Check out this video of Sunder in his new sanctuary:

— Rebecca Hartt, exclusive to Global Animal

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