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Caught on Video: Elephant Sunder Beaten

Written by PETA

Posted 12-05-2013, 11:31 AM | 229 Comments

An undercover investigation conducted by PETA this week has resulted in shocking footage of a mahout (handler) violently beating Sunder, a 14-year-old elephant at the centre of a PETA petition in the High Court of Bombay, with a thick wooden pole. The video reveals a malnourished-looking Sunder, chained by two legs, writhing in pain and struggling to stand as the mahout strikes him repeatedly with the pole. Sunder visibly recoils in fear from the weapon-wielding mahout, who continues to threaten him with violence after he has stood.

Sunder was chained and abused for six years at the Jyotiba Temple in Kolhapur, and following orders by the Maharashtra Forest Department and Project Elephant, which operates under the central Ministry of Environment and Forests, to retire Sunder to a sanctuary, Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Vinay Kore, who had given the elephant as a “gift” to the temple, sent him to be chained in an old, dark poultry shed in Warananagar instead.

The former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and current Head of Forest Force, SWH Naqvi, has also failed to implement the state and central government orders. Just this week, Kore was reported to have claimed to the media that Sunder is fine and healthy, while Vijay Shelke, Deputy Conservator of Territorial Forests – Kolhapur division, said that “every month a veterinary doctor visits the place to check the elephant” and that “we also guide the mahout and local caretakers”. These claims are in spite of the fact that Sunder’s legs show scarring from abuse, he has a low weight, and he is being forced to stand on concrete all day with no opportunity for exercise, which is essential for elephants’ health.

“He is fearful of the mahout”, says international elephant expert Dr Mel Richardson, who examined PETA India’s video of Sunder. “From what I can see his legs and feet are in bad shape. He is in a dangerous situation and needs relief – no chains, natural substrate, and space to exercise.”

You can help Sunder. Take action to urge authorities to free Sunder to a sanctuary today.

Commenting is closed.
  • Marga Terstal

    let Dundar free

    • PETA

      He is in a sanctuary now. Here’s the update –

  • Jane Russell

    Please ensure that Sundar is sent to a sanctuary. The way he is being treated is inhuman and barbaric. The rest of the world is looking on to see what happens to him. Should anything happen to him because of your treatment. There will be a huge public outcry. Let Sundar go to live in a sanctuary

  • Please make sure Sunder the battered temple elephant is put in a sanctuary right away!! If this elephant dies before release there will be 100’s and 100’s of very outraged people!!! This elephant needs nutrition and exercise and most of all…, emotional healing of the mind and spirit. These creatures have been around since the dinosaurs and should get the utmost respect from the human race!!!!

  • Chrissy

    it is heartbreaking to see such cruelty well done Peta for saving Sunder!


  • Dixie Lee Howe

    Thank God for PETA!! Your undercover investigations are helping in so many areas of animal abuse! Thank you!

  • Dixie Lee Howe

    I am shocked at this DISGUSTING AND IGNORANT display of violence against one of mankind’s treasured gifts ———- the mighty and intelligent elephant!! So thankful to PETA for their ongoing efforts to bring justice for abused animals around the world! Thank you PETA!!!

  • Victoria Grando

    Please, free Sunder. He does not deserve this horrible treatment!

  • Mel

    Thank you PETA for working hard in freeing Sunder, it’s a beautiful sight to see.
    I watch the video and I am disgusted in all that can do such a horrific thing and cause so much pain. It does not surprise me however that, there are so many of them out there continuing with this abuse on animals.
    It is up to us to stand as one and fight against those who abuse! Enough is enough.

  • Barb Edwards

    These people are still in the era of the cave men tactics. How can we educate them? Why haven’t they been told during schooling how to behave.
    Such people should not exist in this world – they must be trained how not to hurt animals and people. I am ashamed for them, they have no ethics.


    I made myself watch the video and I cringed physically at the sound of the switch and the blow landing. sunder is confused. GET ME A STICK AND LET ME SORT THESE PEOPLE OUT.


    The callous bully beating Sunder with the stick is showing no tension in his body language BECAUSE THE BRUTALITY IS SO ROUTINE.

  • What is it that make people think that if animals can be trained they don’t have feelings? I would like to see that animal welfare organisations have the
    ; power to make these cruel handlers be PUBLICLY be exposed for their cruelty – complete with pictures.

  • Ian Hoggan

    I have just been reading some of the comments from these good hearted human beings, but was saddened to see the comment from Vitra Garcia. Sorry, but there is no such thing as god!!! If there were do you think that this sort of treatment of innocent animals would happen in the first place!!! When are people going to grow up and smell the coffee. If there is a god of any kind he’s some cruel SOB to let these people live and do what they do. Don’t you think he or it could whisper in their ear, ‘Don’t do that, it’s wrong’. I could go on and on, BUT…….

  • Sandy

    Thank you Peta ,for freeing this beautiful animal from this misery for ever.

  • Suzanne Faulkner

    Why aren’t Sunder’s abusers being arrested? It is videotaped of him being abused, why are these men free?

    • PETA

      Police complaints have been filed, but so far the police have refused to act.

  • S Premkumar

    Truly a very sad picture of mans inhumanity to defenceless animals.Good that PETA has stood up & freed Sundar. Keep the good work going on – and people pl stand up and protest when you see such inhumanity. Reminds me of the treatment to Parvahi – a elephant owned by a rich timber merchant in Pollachi tamilnadu. She is no more.

  • Doreen Harkins

    Oh my God, watching this video makes me sick in my stomach! The animal is only trying to please his mahout but he just keeps getting beat no matter what he does. There is no need for this majestic elephant to be beat nor should Sunder be kept in captivity! Elephants need room to roam and can walk many miles a day in search of food and water and it keeps their joints and feet healthy. NO wild animals should be kept in captivity! It is our duty to keep them in their natural environment so that they can survive with Mother Nature and not some vile person beating the crap out of them. I wish Sunder could have grabbed that pole and beat the life out of his mahouts as well as the man who sent him there. Only thing then he would have been shot! Anyone who tells me that India is a peaceful country is full of bulls_ _ _! I will NEVER visit there! I hope karma comes around and visits the mahouts and bites them in the ass!

  • please give freedom to this elephant.

  • Devraj Sensharma

    PeTA, i have one question…what should be done to the person who is seen hitting Sunder with the Stick (as a matter of fact to any animal)..WHAT should be done ? Personally in Sunder’s case i really want to meet that person with the same stick in MY hand and he tied (just like SUNDER) and i would like to TRAIN him…

  • Ted Varley

    Thankyou PETA for getting this magnificent creature away from such cruel vile sub humans. Kama will come back to them 10 fold. We must all do our upmost to stop this and other barbaric acts to all Animals. They feel pain, suffering and misery just like us and have no one to help them, except you and I. Feel proud to be connected to Sunder’s freedom.

  • Maurizio Bosco

    Respect for all animals

  • Kazuko Endo

    I can’t understand why some people can abuse animals like that. I hope those ugly heart people get same fortune in the future.

  • S.P.Pluguez

    Now that Sunder is free, how will we know this won’t happen again?
    These cockroaches of human beings are carrying extremely bad luck for the rest of their lives, we need to please keep an eye on them that they do not commit anymore crimes to Mother Nature.

  • Howard Townson

    So now that he is freed what penalties will be held against the people who beat him. I think you people like stoning for women so what about these jerks. The elephant has a wound that will be difficult to heal. What if it becomes so infected that Sunder need to be put down. I think it wonderful that he is free but what deterants are in place for those that beat him.

  • This man, and those involved in the abuse of this gentle giant, should be prosecuted to the SKY!! please bring appropriate consequences to this evil criminal!!!!

  • Judith

    I wish I could get a chance to give that stupid elephant “caregiver” a couple of wacks with that damn tool. Does he not understand that he is causing the elephant much pain.
    Fire the stupid person as he does not deserve this job. I expected more from you people in India whom I had respected as kind people. Not all, but now that this is out prosecute him for animal cruelty.

  • Karen Goodland

    I cannot bring myself to watch a video of such hideous abuse, the picture is enough and I write this through a haze of tears. Animals are not on this earth for humans to abuse, it is so very heartbreaking.

  • ….these people are a complete disgrace to humanity! They need a taste of this kind of horror themselves, so they know how it feels. This poor elephant, I’m sure
    wonders what on this earth he has ever done to deserve such treatment…they have sensitivity and intelligence…please take him away from this prison hell and others in similar situations, and give them freedom and loving homes they deserve so much!

  • Jessica Hammell

    I hate these people! This breaks my heart. How can anyone hurt another living being, watch it suffer, and then keep inflicting pain?! Such a sweet elephant who clearly just wants to live a peaceful life he us entitled to. Why was this EVER allowed? Why was Sunder sent to be chained like this in the first place? This doesn’t even make sense!

  • Vitra Garcia

    Thank God this poor creature is now free from this abuse. However, all efforts must be pursued to bring his abusers to justice. Those elected to public office who lied brazenly, and those who actually inflicted pain on Sunder. Thanks to all those who worked tirelessly to free one of God’s most magnificent creations.

  • Harpreet Singh

    There may be there are more sunder out there, but i believe peta is doing an amicable job…..truly appretiate the concern shown by peta.

  • Michéle Schmidt

    Freedom for Sunder!! Stop this animal abuse.

  • Trudy Schulten

    Dit moeten stoppen

  • Ann Barron

    Indian government, please move this beautiful creature to a sanctuary where he can live a happy life free from the fear and abuse he has been subjected to.
    Please do not delay in doing this

  • Alina Kucharczyk

    I wish to do the same to this man.

  • Claudia Lifton-Schwerner

    This heinous, despicable violence against an innocent, sentient being should be punished harshly.

  • Mimi

    I would lash the life out of this stupid man!!!!

  • Zeli Laporga

    Please put a stop to the abuse! These men are so cruel, I wonder how they would like to get beat that way. Please remove this poor elephant and get him to sanctuary.! Thanks to PETA and there investigators .
    Thank you,
    Zeli laporga

  • Paul Mignosa

    please release Saunders to an animal sanctuary



  • Shell

    Absolutely disgusting! I do not understand how ppl can just beat on animals. Sunder is such a sweetheart, what a good and gentle creature! He could easily just stomp the hell out of those EVIL beings. Please get him out, make sure they do not get another to take his place. I would like to chain & beat those scumbags!!

  • what is this …………….really its very bad to see this bcz Lord Ganesh is in under punishment
    ohoo God’
    why can t you see all this

  • Rena Reidt


  • M Leybra

    Has this elephant been transferred to sanctuary yet? 4-12-14

  • Rakesh Perla

    I am glad that he is finally out of misery but i am curious to know has the court charged this faggots to prison??

  • Jeanne

    Where is GOD …… Please, please help this poor animal !!!!!

  • Lisa Delabre

    This is a horrible way to treat this animal, it makes India look bad as a society, please help end this vicious abuse off innocent sentient beings !!

  • Yvette Ronan

    Elephants are beautiful creatures and it sickenes me to see an elephant being treated like this.

  • John

    What an utter disgrace! These people should be punished for their blatant inhumane cruelty. I hope Sunder has good care from now on and finds peace in his new surroundings.


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