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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.

Commenting is closed.
  • Claudia Gibson

    This makes me deliriously happy! Have a great life Sunder! What a great success!

  • Linda Jade

    I am so elated to see sunder adjusting to his new home and new friends. This is what i have prayed for over the last several months. Please keep us all informed about Sunder’s progess. Thanks from everyone who loves Sunder so.!!

  • Tears of joy. So wonderful.

  • Kerry Williams

    I sit here crying tears of happiness for this beautiful elephant. This is exactly the reason why I continue to email & petition for the release of abused animals the world over. What people have created, we must un-do.<3

  • Caroline Yates

    Thank you soooo much you have given all of Sunder’s friends much hope……….in gratitude
    Caroline Ann Yates
    elephant lover

  • Cynthia Austing

    Thank you so much for showing these picture of Sunder! I am having a hard time typing because I a crying tears of joy. I am so pleased to see him so happy and joyful!

  • Robin Crawford

    Thank you again PETA India and BBP for helping Sunder the way you have! I’m so happy he is free and living the good life he deserves. I can’t wait to hear that even the light restraint is no longer needed and he’s roaming free with his new family! Love from the USA Sunder xoxo!

  • Janice Wolski

    “Sunder grabbing a coconut” is the best thing I have read! Thanks for the update on our boy Sunder!

  • Alma Mares

    Poor Sunder I still worry about him so much, that wound on his leg must hurt I pray it does not get infected

  • Ingrid

    These photos of Sunder are so wonderful to see. He is making new friends and he is finally in a safe place. I’m so happy to see Sunder is finally at peace. I know his emotional scars will be with him for the rest of his life. Great job Peta for your hard work, and everyone else involved!

  • Jennifer And Ariel Santos

    Thank you for all the efforts taken to help Sunder feel real freedom. Seeing his lovely pictures warms our hearts. Thank you.

  • Lisa Nichols

    Would like to see more Visio on Sunder as he is helped in the next few weeks an months

  • Brilliant news & photos, thanks to everyone for the update…thoughts remain for OTHER “Temple Elephants””, that must be offered the same freedom as Sunder, fir I stance what’s the plight of 6 year old Elephant Assam/n who had to endure a 12 day…yes 12 day journey to sons bloody he “in chains”…?….let him and others be free from this ridiculas and outdated policy of imprisoning Elephants in Temples, just kept to get revenue from the public……remember Vinay Kore who was instrumental in the cruelty to Sunder for all those years is being pursued for being culpable for illegal activities against Sunder and we hope. Correctly prosecuted fur those atrocious activities…let thus be a lesson to others who think they can “best the hell out of Elephants.” and avoid prosecution…?…well, you damn well cannot, and will not get away with it in India anymore. My English ancestors were the worst criminals fur their persecution of Elephants and Tigers in India and now it is up to us to redress that injustice to all these majestic animals….!!

  • Kathryn Giallonardo

    Baby shiva is a doll baby!!! Omg look at this precious thing!!!!!

  • Pamela Kaczynski

    Thank-you for sharing all these wonderful pictures of Sunder. Can not wait till his enclosure is done so he can walk around a little and then go be with the other elephants once he is healed.

  • Sharon L Robinson Hambley

    Please heal quickly! Baby Shiva wants to play!

  • Tracy Foster

    So wonderful to see him with other elephants and receiving good care. I can’t wait until he can roam free. Thank you so much! Please keep the updates coming!

  • This is absolutely beautiful.Thank you so very much for all you are doing to make Sunder happy and loved.
    wish I could visit him one day.Vana Raj is going to be the best Patriach,and little Shiva the best baby Brother.

  • J Wiggins

    Thank you for all of your rescues and work but especially now for Sunder. So happy you were able to free him before he was killed by them.
    Thank you so much!

  • Linda Badham


  • If he is happy, then I am happy♥

  • I’m sure I speak for all of Sunder’s fans when I say these pictures moved me to the bottom of my heart, where before there was only pain and anguish for Sunder’s suffering and now there is happiness and joy for his new life .. I love to imagine what it must feel like for him after so many long dark years of abuse and isolation, to be among other elephants, to be surrounded by trees and nature, to feel the earth and grass beneath his feet .. and to slowly learn that there are humans who will show him nothing but kindness, love and a tender touch.
    And I speak for all his fans again when I voice my gratitude to those who have fought tirelessly for his release, who never gave up .. you are truly his guardian angels, all of you – the advocates who fought the court battles, PETA India, the carers, the vets, the handlers, and of course all at Benerghatta B.P. which has given him a home – all of you have the eternal gratitude of people all over the world who love Sunder so much and now share in this happiness.

  • Ernie Meyer

    looks like the beginning of a happy ending…Walt Disney should hear about this…do we smell movie rights….all profits go to animal rescue.

  • Smarysol Rivera

    This is such wonderful news!!! Thank you Peta for all your hard work & continued commitment to Sunder & to all those who were relentless in spreading awareness of Sunder’s horrific abuse!

  • Kevan

    These photos have brought tears to my eyes….Finally….Finally….as it should be…
    Thank You ALL for not giving up, what you do matters!!! This matters, He matters…THANK YOU!!!!

  • Traci Newell

    Love seeing the pictures. I am so glad about the enclosure for him, this will be great to not see any chains on Sunder. I thinks that it’s just awesome that Sunder is making friends and that van Ray is reaching out to him. :)

  • Susan Cliver

    I feel in my heart joy for Sunder and I pray he will be one happy boy!

  • Judy

    Fantastic.. thank you for the update and photos.

  • Mary Ellen Davis

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • Jo

    Lovely to see Sunder, thank you

  • This is terrific news and we can’t wait to see him being allowed to roam a little. The fresh air has helped his eye and his wound tremendously . . we would like to have forwarded a poem written today by one of our kids . . . but sadly we can;t paste it here . . it’s on a photo.

    Thank you one and all.

  • Judy Malone

    This is looking very fine for Sunder. Would like a response to the June 9 complaint from Naresh Kadian and the May Indian Express article stating BBP does not have adequate funding to care for jumbos, Important that you respond.

  • Ron Winkelman

    It is a beautiful thing to be able to watch Sunder as he adjusts to his new home. Thank you for the updates!

  • Sue Whyberd

    Thank you for these incredible photos. Sunder must feel like he went to elephant heaven. They say an elephant never forgets, but I hope he will be able to leave the terrible memories behind him.

  • Thank u so so much. PetaIndia. You are amazing people. Bless you all

  • Vailgirl50

    Thank you for keeping us informed about our beloved Sunder!!!!

  • Thank you for these updates. They make us feel so good knowing Sunder is being cared for with so much love.

  • Marti

    Love these pictures! Thank you SO much for sharing them with all of us who love Sunder so much. He looks wonderful. So glad to see him with other elephants – and I love the grass on his back! Thank you, thank you!

  • Sylvia Voss

    After so many tears prays and petitions finally seems Sunder has now landed in Elephant Paradise!!! I’m so grateful to have been a small part of his much needed transition for suvival. To know that one extreemly abused Temple Elephant has been saved and that he high lights the path for the plight of them all fills me with pride and hope for the future of these magnificent intelligent beings

  • Anjelicam

    This is wonderful! Thank you for all your hard work! :)

  • Shirley Kramer

    I still don’t like the chain on him! I think it should come off, he’s been in chains and ropes all his life. All in all I’m still happy he’s not being abused anymore. Do you all think next time you can show a video of him with his new friends and no chain, please!? I wish I could give him a hug and let him know that I love him as well as all the people who helped rescue him in every way.

  • Anita

    I am so happy that Sundar is getting a shot at happiness. He was treated so badly for so long and abused horrifically, but thanks to dedicated efforts he is maybe going to have some fun and peace finally. His eyes look so sad, and I do hope being with other elephants and kind carers he will enjoy things and be happy. God bless him and everyone who cared enough to make a difference xx

  • Sue Barker

    sunder looks like he has settled in really well i am so happy for him and grateful for everyones support x

  • Mark

    Thank you so much Erka for giving us such a wondeful update. I still think of Sunder every day and still tear up when I think of what he has been through and how he his in such a wonderful place where he can live peacefully and happily for many, many, many years to come. Thank you for taking such good care of him and thanks to the patient and well skilled staff there at Bannerghatta Biological Park. You are doing wonderful things for Sunder and the other animals under you care and you are doing wonderful things for the millions of people who have joined in supporting this wonderful animal of God. God Bless each and every one of you and God Bless You Sunder. We Love You!!!!!!!

  • Anne-Greth Garmland

    I am SO happy for Sunder now and I think you are angels taking care of him!
    I am having a hard time to forget that he was abused in the past but I hope that he can forget and just enjoy his new life among friends, elephants, mahouts, veterinarians and everyone that will keep him happy and safe. Sending you all the warmest swedish hugs from
    Anne-Greth Garmland

  • Melissa Green

    Thank you for keeping us updated with Sunder’s progress. We love to see photo’s of him looking settled and in his new herd (or as near as he can get!) Appreciate your work and effort.

  • Kongka Passah

    This brought tears of happiness to my eyes. Thankyou God…thankyou peta.

  • Annette Fyllgraf

    It is so wonderful That Sunder
    at last gør freedom. Hope hr Will recover and en
    Joy the rest of his Life- hr is so sweet and deserves all the best in The World- Love you Sunder!!! And thanks to all the people who helped saving him!!!!!!!!

  • Disha

    i was waiting to hear about him..thank u so much…cant wait for him to recover and walk around freely…bless him!

  • Elena Knox

    you are doing a wonderful act of compassion for Sunder. Blessings and good karma for you.


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