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PHOTOS and VIDEO: Sunder Blossoms

Written by PETA

Posted 06-25-2014, 07:25 PM | 118 Comments

Sunder is settling into his lush green new home at the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP). Before the Supreme Court ruled in PETA’s favour for Sunder’s rescue, the elephant spent his days abused and in isolation. Now, Sunder has friends of his own species, gets coconuts for treats and even got the opportunity to splash around in a natural pond for the first time in his life!

Because Sunder endured violent beatings and solitary confinement for much of his life, his new caretakers are still handling him cautiously and keeping him lightly restrained. Sunder is also still recovering from the massive wound that was on his leg – caused by heavy chains – which is now healing. Veterinarians with PETA’s sister organisation Animal Rahat have been at BBP since Sunder’s first day there in order to help with his transition and report that the elephant is showing positive signs of progress.

Sunder is also increasingly being permitted to interact with the park’s 13 other elephants, and he will eventually join their happy herd. Once he has recovered and adjusted, he will be able to roam the forest, streams and ponds in the park with his new family.

Sunder seems to think this drink of water is hitting the spot.

Sunder seems to think this drink of water is hitting the spot.

Sunder cools off with Lakshmi.

Sunder cools off with Lakshmi.

Sunder gets a coconut from a caretaker.

Sunder gets a coconut from a caretaker.

Sunder takes a walk with a caretaker.

Sunder takes a walk with a caretaker.

Sunder gives Lakshmi a kiss.

Sunder gives Lakshmi a kiss.

Sunder and Lakshmi have lunch.

Sunder and Lakshmi have lunch.

Sunder is kept close to his new family.

Sunder is kept close to his new family.

Sunder steps forward to touch baby Shiva.

Sunder steps forward to touch baby Shiva.

Watch this heart-warming video of Sunder enjoying a bath in a pond for the FIRST time after his rescue. Sunder loves being in water and using his trunk as a snorkel.

Read our FAQs to learn more about Sunder’s journey, and check back here often for more updates on his progress.



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  • Margaret Coyle

    has Sunder been taken off the loose chains yet? if not when is that likely to happen.

  • S Ferns

    PETA Congratulations and thank you for all the wonderful effort and caring. I pray that you will all be blessed!!!

  • Tracy

    Thank you PETA for all your instant hard work and I just hope that more elephants and other abused animals in circuses can be rescued from their demonic trainers and the horrific lives they are forced to live and can come to a lovely place like this. Please keep up the excellent work you so PETA

  • Mary Branch

    It is hard to believe this poor animal suffered for 15 years in an abusive environment. I’m not sure what the circumstances were that landed him in such a terrible life. I cannot seem to find any information on that. I am hopeful but still anxious for his welfare.

  • Tracey

    PETA, thank you for freeing Sunder, he looks so happy.
    What are you going to do about the 3,000 abused domestic elephants in India? Are you going to help to free them?

    • PETA

      Hi Tracey, there are various organisations working to rehabilitate abused elephants. We are doing our best too.

  • Susan Frudd

    Such uplifting photo’s and Sunder looks to be settling into his well deserved new life, which I hope and pray will be filled with joy and new friends for him. He and all animals deserve and should have peace and not be under constant threat from cruelty and suffering. “Happy Days” Sunder x

  • Phil Edel

    Thank you for posting this update, finally some great news after sop many months hoping for this outcome! You made more than my day.

  • Janet Cope

    He has so much love to give although he has known nothing but beatings, torture, pain and neglect. His old owners need beaten for treating him so bad.

  • Mina

    Thank you PETA for all your hard work and dedication to these precious creatures. They deserve to live free and peaceful as this is their planet to. I’m so deeply happy for Sunders happy ending and pray she nor any animal will have to endure such torturous and inhumane conditions!

    There is another issue that needs PETA and it’s supporters help! Please see the attached link and try to help these poor animals before to many of them are needlessly killed!

    • PETA

      @Mina Could you please send us these details at We will get back to you soon. Thanks!

  • Giana Peranio-Paz

    So happy to see Sunder free and happy, being loved not abused, and can’t help feeling proud that we all did this collectively and that united we stand and can really do great things! Keep up the good works Care2!


    What a transformation! Sunder can now be happy! Thank you to all who helped make this possible!

  • Len

    This is a wonderful, wonderful story in that this poor elephant, one of thousands being abused by humans, has has such a happy ending for Sunder. These are just heart warming pictures of Sunder and give us new hope for all the other animals suffering at the hands of humans with the blessing of officialdom. Look toward to watching Saunders progress and her eventual total freedom to walk with her peers, totally free at last and surrounded by caring humans ..

  • Tracy Dunham

    Please help the elephants at woodland park zoo in Seattle. Zoo officials have said that Watoto will go to another zoo. Citizens want him to go to a sanctuary! Please help

  • Nicole Korensky

    Why does Sunder still have a chain around one of his feet? I thought he was completely free in a chain-free sanctuary?

  • Ashie

    I have followed Sunder’s story closely…Now just look at him – he is so happy with his family – I have tears of joy…….. Thanks to all the good guys who made this possible for Sunder and thank you so much Peta for helping Sunder and other animals!!!

  • Terri Lawson

    Hi to you all at petaindia!! Thank you so much for the wonderful work that you all do with these dear Elephants!! I love them all dearly, they really do touch my heart. Hopefully I will be able to visit soon and meet you all, keep up the good work!! Fondest love to you all, and the biggest cuddles to all those beautiful Elephants there with you <3 <3

  • Becky Ewers

    Overwhelming to see him free and happy!! Enjoy your new home and family sunder god bless you sweetheart xxx

  • Bhagyashri

    I must say… Hats off PETA Team..God Bless You All for saving Sunder’s life and for giving him his FREEDOM which every animal deserves on this Earth…

  • Dina

    My heart soars seeing Sunder being with his new family and playing in the pond. I am almost crying happy tears right now. Sunder is so adorable in the pond. He reminds me of a child having the time of his life. Thank you to all those so committed in helping Sunder and making his and other elephants lives better.

  • Karin

    So happy to see Sunder enjoying his new Life!! To see he finally looks happy !Knowing he wont ever get beaten or abused again, makes me feel happy, and best of all: the fact that all of us who signed for his release shows that there is not much you can do by yourself but TOGETHER we can do soooo much! Sunder is a living proof of that!! I wish for him to recover soon so that he`ll be able to walk free with his new elephant-family and live the Life as an elephant should, Sunder so deserves it! Thanx to all of you people that now handles Sunder, teaching him human contact doesnt have to hurt,! I love watching him in his new Environment, see him being taken care of the way he should! Hope soon he will be healthy enough to be chainfree!! Thank you for the updates on Sunder Cant wait to see more! let us continue supporting Changes for temple elephants,and who knows?, maybe we`ll soon see other temple elephants being given their freedom, together we can do it! Wish all the best for Sunder and his new caretakers!


    How nice to see this elephant getting to enjoy life , after having had to endure so much cruelty . Thank you Peta .

  • Kathryn Giallonardo

    I’m so in love!! God is good. And god bless all of you working. To protect these loves.

  • Mary Short

    So happy to see Sunder enjoying his new life. It brings tears to my eyes to think how far he has come to the freedom he deserves. God bless everyone for speaking out to save him. Hope we continue to support change for temple elephants to freedom.

  • Karen

    I am so happy for Sunder. His story was just gut wrenching for me. But I continued to follow it with hope that this lovely elephant would get the life he deserved. I can understand why the need for some chaining due to this elephants previous living conditions. I hope that someday he (and the other elephants) will be chain free! Thank you for the updates on Sunder! I can’t wait to see more! :)

  • Joslynne

    People are saying this is a lie and Sunder is not free. Still being beaten. Please confirm he is not chained and allowed to run free.

    • PETA

      Sunder has been rescued and is safe and happy at an elephant care centre in Bangalore. Please check out these links:, Have a look at all the blogs we have up for more pictures. Thanks!

  • Cheryl Locke

    Total Love Peace and Joy in my heart for Our Sunder Boy…this truly lifts my spirits and gives me strength and courage and a smile for my day.I Love You Sunder Boy!!!

  • Wonderful to see Sunder settling in so comfortably and the handlers getting him use to his new surroundings fairly quickly. It’s good to see Sunder being treated well, and he’s making friends with the other Elephants. Thanks for the pics peta please continue to keep us updated.





  • Robin Down

    My heart soars with happiness for Sunder. PETA you are so awesome! Thank you a million times over for all the life saving work you are doing.

  • Robin Down

    How old is Sunder? Is he in good health? How much weight does he need to gain? He looks very thin.

    • PETA

      Sunder’s only a teenager. Please learn more about his care at BBP:

  • So happy to see such a happy ending for that poor abused Sunder. PETA people end people in India who did so much to find a way to free him and giving him a new enjoyable life, are angels. Now I wonder about an other case of abuse and loneliness , that elephant is named Nosey, I don’t remember were he was, I signed the petition , but never heard about him again


    Lovely splishing and splashing.

  • Bless you Peta and everyone that has helped. I am touched by seeing Sunder in a new environment…it brings tears to my eyes.

  • Bgillis

    Am so very happy that Sunder is now in a different place & has started a normal life. Cannot understand that the abuse wasn’t stopped years ago!

  • Lori

    Sunder looks so happy. It makes my heart sing to see him like this. Living like an elephant should. Thank you for doing this for him.

  • Lotta Lindsjö

    I am so happy for Sunder and so graetful to the man who brought him to this place.

  • Sharon Gjertsen

    We all rejoice with happiness for Sunder. Thanks to everyone who made it possible. We hope that her story will bring light to as many people as possible.

  • Monu Mishra

    Hey PETA, great work! keep it up

  • Alexandra

    Beautiful :):) God bless Sunder

  • Marica Czirfusz

    So happy!!! Brings tears to my eyes!! Thanks you to all who fought for Sunder’s release!!
    It does a heart good to see that action does pay off and to remind us all to never stop trying!!!
    I am trying to help Bob barker also free Lucy the Edmonton zoo elephant – please help!!!

  • Mandy Keeling

    After all the constant abysmal news of elephant deaths from poachers, abuse from mahouts (well abuse from most people who they come into contact with), terrible living conditions and treatment in Zoos and circuses and the eternal need of humans to use them as a exploitable resource: it is damn beautiful to see an elephant have a happy ending, all my love to those who made it possible

  • Tina O'Shea

    Thank you for such beautiful pictures of Sunder

  • Helen Weder

    After months of hoping with obstacle after obstacle, finally Sunder is free and enjoying his life in peace and safety. My heart if bursting with joy!

  • Vrunda Shankara

    I’m so happy for sunder,this time when we go for our vacation we will go to bannerghatta,& wanna see him :)
    It is really a feel good moment,whenever I read about sunder.

  • Shirley Walter

    It’s so good to see Sunder being able to act like and elephant. You go boy!!!

  • Laurie Whiteman

    I’ve been following this story for months. It brings my heart such joy and happiness but will also need to remind ourselves that Sunder is not alone. There are several living creatures who cry for our help. Please continue to offer your support to those in need. I will continue to follow Sunders re-birth and those who are still in harms way.

  • Sue Griffiths

    Thank you for caring for Sunder and giving him the life he should have always had. Compared to the other elephants he looks underweight, but with good, natural food I’m sure his body will soon fill out.

  • BJ

    A coconut instead of a stick hit on the head.
    A swim instead of a concrete floor.
    The amazement of seeing a baby.
    Happy Sunder!
    Thank you all involved in his rescue.

  • What a transformation for this wonderful elephant who waited, so, so, so long for even just a hint of what he has here. We would just like to see him carrying a bit more weight, but this will hopefully come in time. His leg looks so much better, his thoughts and emotions are filled with disbelief . . bless one and all from all corners of the Universe who helped Sunder, the elephant who had been given as a ‘gift’ but cruelly abused, beaten and mentally tortured. . Long may you live Sunder enjoying the fresh air, proper diet and other ele’s


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