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PHOTOS: Sunder’s First Week of Care

Written by PETA

Posted 06-12-2014, 11:15 PM | 144 Comments

We are pleased to report that in Sunder’s first week at Bannerghatta Biological Park, where he is to reside by order of the Supreme Court of India he is responding well to the care he has received from the park veterinarians and mahouts as well as veterinarians with our sister organisation Animal Rahat, who have remained there to help with his transition.

Since Sunder was the victim of almost unimaginable abuse for nearly 15 years, the veterinarians and mahouts are still getting to know his temperament, and since this is a large park, they are proceeding with caution in order to protect Sunder, the other elephants and themselves. They are introducing him to his new environment and family slowly, with care and some restraint. The mahouts at the park are new to Sunder, and the only mahouts he has known in the past were those who beat him repeatedly even when he was lying down. A new relationship of trust is being established between Sunder and the new mahouts, and building that trust takes time. But he is making progress.

He is still recovering from a massive injury on his leg that he sustained while he was being abused, so he has not yet been permitted to walk through the 49.5-hectare (122 acres) forested area with his new family members. But soon, he will!

You may remember that the majestic Van Raj was the first elephant Sunder met at the park and the two hit it off. This week, Van Raj was often kept and fed near Sunder in order to help him adjust to his new surroundings.

Sunder and Van Raj get to know each other .

Sunder and Van Raj get to know each other .

Van Raj reaches out to Sunder.

Van Raj reaches out to Sunder.

Sunder's leg is still healing from the abuse he endured. Veterinarians, however, report that he is recovering.

Sunder’s leg is still healing from the abuse he endured. Veterinarians, however, report that he is recovering.

So that Sunder does not have to remain restrained during this process and while he's getting used to the park, officials there have given PETA permission to build an enclosure in which he can be treated but still walk around.

Officials at the park have given PETA permission to build a temporary enclosure inside the resting area for Sunder, where he can be kept without this kind of restraint during the night, can be managed during treatment and protected from rain as useful for the treatment of his injury.

Sunder grabs a coconut.

Sunder grabs a coconut.

Some of Sunder's new family are being fed nearby so that he can get used to seeing them. Although the elephants are generally permitted to walk around on their own, they may be loosely restrained during feeding, when the mahouts need to keep them together (or separate). However, park officials have promised to fence the massive perimeter so that they may phase out such restraint.

Some of Sunder’s new family are being fed nearby so that he can get used to seeing them. Although the elephants are generally permitted to walk around on their own, they may be loosely restrained during feeding, when the mahouts need to keep them together (or separate). However, park officials have promised to fence the massive perimeter so that they may phase out such restraint.

Sunder enjoys twirling his trunk around his tusk.

Sunder enjoys twirling his trunk around his tusk.

Baby Shiva is still curious about Sunder, and Sunder is becoming curious about the little one, too.

Baby Shiva is still curious about Sunder, and Sunder is becoming curious about the little one, too.

Baby Shiva takes a nap.

Baby Shiva takes a nap.

Sunder will soon be able to join his new family in the park.

Sunder will soon be able to join his new family in the park.

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  • Tina Motz

    May everyone involved with this and other rescues be blessed. Keep up the great work everyone.

  • Kathryn Giallonardo

    Tears of pure joy. Love you Sunder

  • Fantastic to see an uptate on dear Sunder. He looks very comfortable and relaxed. Thanks to all those who care for him. All ele warriors love him xxxxxx

  • Sue

    TEARS OF JOY!!! GOD blessed all that help! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • MJ

    God bless. I’m so happy Sunder is no longer suffering at the hands of the soulless!

  • Barbara

    Thank you so much,PETA i`m happy that Sunder is safe now.

  • Tina

    Thank you so much for saving Sunder! Great Job!!!!!

  • Lydia Lee Kemppainen

    It will be wonderful to watch him adjust to his new life, and I hope it will be a long happy one.

  • PETA

    Here you go: http://bit.ly/1rwIznd :) Please keep track of this blog space for more updates.

  • Christine Luckhurst

    please keep us updated on the progress of this beautiful elephant and his new life. are there any repercussions for the people/cowards in whose care he was entrusted and who chose to harm him so cruelly and so often. hope they get some sort of punishment. well done PETA for this success and all of your efforts for animals everywhere

  • Margaret Coyle

    Thank you PETA for all your hard work so happy to see Sunder away from that awful place he looks so much better already Would love to see a video of him in his new home

  • Rosa

    A sight of beauty. Nature at its best. Thank you for all you do!

  • Seema Vaid

    Awesome work PETA India .. Please continue updating us .. I cry with joy each time I see Sunder’s pics . .. he already looks so much better – his body language says it all !! Keep it up!

  • Elizabeth Ross

    It breaks my heart what Sunder had to go through and the visible marks of abuse and grief it has left on him. I am so glad that he can at least be allowed to try to heal. Please, PETAINDIA, keep us informed about how he is doing.

  • I am so so glad he was rescued. I don’t know how many other elephants receive this horrible abuse but I am so glad he is around other elephants and he is realizing this is a good place with friends of his own kind.

  • Antonella Del Bono

    It’s great to see some good news. I’m thrilled for Sunder.

  • AMELIA BURTON

    A HUGE Thank You to all at PETA involved with saving Sunder. It is so good to hear he is progressing well and the vets are confident about his injured leg.
    It will be wonderful to see Sunder roaming with the rest of the herd, safe and secure within the Sanctuary. Please continue to keep everyone updated on this much loved elephant. Once again thank you PETA for all your hard, hard work.
    What a result !!!!

  • AMELIA BURTON

    A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE AT PETA FOR FINALLY SAVING SUNDER.
    IT IS SO GOOD TO HEAR HE IS PROGRESSING WELL AND THE VETS ARE CONFIDENT ABOUT HIS INJURED LEG. PLEASE CONTINUE TO KEEP EVERYONE UPDATED ON HIS PROGRESS – HE IS A MUCH LOVED ELEPHANT IT WILL BE WONDERFUL TO SEE HIM ROAMING WITH THE OTHER ELEPHANTS SAFE AND SECURE WITHIN THE SANCTUARY.
    ONCE AGAIN THANK YOU PETA FOR ALL YOUR HARD, HARD WORK.
    WHAT A RESULT !!!

  • Michelle Steil

    I’m am SOOOOOOOOO thrilled and relieved that Sunder is FINALLY going to have a life of loving care & the freedom he so deserves. I LOVE ANIMALS. WE LOVE YOU, SUNDER! <3<3<3 Now, for all the rest of the captive wild animals….let's all get on it!

  • Audrey Klesta

    May Sunder finally know trust and happiness in his new home!

  • THANK YOU FOR SAVING SUNDER.

  • Graziana Barsocchi

    Thank you for sharing Sunder’s progress and photos. What a joy, well done!

  • I am so very glad that Sunder is free and happy and making friends. This is wonderful. He is so beautiful & Baby Shiva is the sweetest ever and wants to be Sunder’s bud~~so very sweet. Thank goodness for all the people and their hard work, who got him freed and in a wonderful place where he will be love and taken care of properly. THANK YOU, THANK YOU AND THANK YOU AGAIN!!!

  • Su Reeves

    This makes me feeel soooo good ! Thank you for bringing us these updates of Sunder, OOOO I feel all warm inside. lolol. THANK YOU > xxxxxxx

  • Mary

    I am so impressed! Congratulations for all you do!!!

  • Maica

    To see Sunder with his new family in his new home is wonderful! I hope that his wounds and emotional wounds heal quickly and he soon forgets his abusive past in this peaceful, natural, elephant filled environment. God Bless everyone involved in making this happen and those who are taking care of him now and in the future. Hope… , one abused elephant has been saved!

  • Rehana

    Absolutely delighted at his long due freedom & peace. I only hope & pray that soon elephants all over the world will be set free back where they belong to roam with their own kind & live their lives as nature intended without human intervention & cruelty.

  • Roxanne

    Thank you for taking such good care of Sunderr so he can finally know freedom and what it feels like to have family!

  • Patricia

    I am thrilled to see these pictures. Keep sending these as I have been following the story of this precious and magnificent Sunder for a year. I endured many sleepless nights. Now I know he will be in peace. Thank you Dr. Villyate and PETA India for rescuing him.

  • Sunder With A Friend

    Thank you for saving Sunder and others from abuse and using wisdom and caution as you proceed. I believe Sunder with exceed all expectations and hopes for rehab and integrating into the herd. He must be starved for security and fellowship of other elephants. Oh, thank you again!!

  • Ursula Bull SPAIN

    thank you for the wonderful photos and reassuring comments. despite my initial doubts, I am more than happy with SUNDER’s progress so far and at the same time very grateful to PETA and BBP for their on-going care and compassion. He is young and physically he will recover fairly soon, but miracles don’t happen over night and he wil need time and patience to rebuild his trust an confidence. a huge THANK YOU to all concerned.

  • Jane B

    I am so happy to see Sunder getting the good treatment he deserves after years of suffering. Thank you to all involved.

  • I’m so happy for the kindness.

  • Mona Pietsch

    This is wonderful for Sunder

  • Fortafananza

    This brings tears to my eyes. I am so grateful to all that had a part in freeing Sunder from a lifetime of fear & unimaginable abuse. I look forward to seeing him thrive in his new surroundings & becoming acclimated to his new family. He is the most deserving elephant of all & I wish him only the very best. It will take a long time for him to feel that he can trust again…but with time, patience, love & care…he will.

  • Ana Morris

    I saw footage of these mahouts beating elephants. They are training him to obey them, how do they do that? I saw them carrying machetes. If it is a sanctuary why can they not walk free and lie down at night??? PLEASE ANSWER MY QUESTIONS.I AM NOT ALONE I ASK FOR MY 2000 FB FRIENDS.

  • Ana Morris

    It seems a little better than at Kores house. HOWEVER HE IS NOT FREE. Thanks for the one pic showing his injury which looks like gangrene. I hope your vet report is the truth. WHY IS HE CHAINED TO A TREE?? THIS IS A ZOO NOT A SANCTUARY!!

  • Connie Keys

    Wonderful creature thanks for your efforts and care

  • Prof D Swaim

    So happy Sunder is free at last free at last! Monsters that tortured him for years must be punished!

  • Sunderlover

    So grateful to all, and I mean not just the terrific mahouts, vets, park employees, PETA representatives, etc. etc., but also to all the people worldwide who made Sunder a universal word. Next I’ll be happy to see that reddish marking on his face wear off. What is it anyway? It does make Sunder easy to identify though.

  • This makes me happy but still there is so much suffering we must help all

  • Marilyn Copland

    It was good to hear that Sunder has a nice new home to live in, thanks to PETA. You do wonder full work.

  • Mandy Keeling

    Thank you for the updates, it’s wonderful news

  • I always thought Indians always made sure that their Elephants were protected and cared for – 16 years of abuse – how come. thank god he is where he is now – but how long he suffered. !!

  • Piya Sen

    love to see sundar free… waiting to see his healed leg.

  • I

    So lovely to see Sunder. The leg wound is horrible hope it heals up well and Sunder can soon roam among his own kind.

  • Sherrie Shown

    I cannot even express into words how happy I am that Sunder is in his new home. Kudos to everyone involved who made this happen. Some names I know, and a lot of names I don’t. They are the unsung heroes. Thank you to you all.

  • Thank you for this update and for these truly wonderful photos! Peta India, you are all doing a fantastic job!!

  • June Billings

    How wonderful to see the haunted painful look in Sunders eyes have gone, his skin is also improving as no longer being battered, he will enjoy his new life and I for one am very happy.

  • beautiful pictures thanks for sharing, good to see that peoples efforts do help and work

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