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PHOTOS: Sunder in His New Home

Written by PETA

Posted 06-06-2014, 03:40 PM | 584 Comments

We are beyond delighted to report that the much-abused young elephant Sunder has arrived at his new home, Bannerghatta Biological Park, where he is to reside by order of the Supreme Court of India.

Park officials have assured PETA that the entire 49.5-hectare forested area for elephants will be fenced in to allow the herd of 13 elephants – which Sunder will join once he has settled down and his serious leg wound caused by long-term painfully tight chaining has healed – to roam freely. Veterinary experts are working to address this wound. We have also gained permission to fund a spacious 1.25 musth area for Sunder.

Sunder has suffered greatly for years. He has a massive injury to his leg, on a joint that will be hard to heal. He has been badly beaten and otherwise abused and so will need to be introduced gently to a different way of being handled, quarantined for health testing and loosely restrained as his injuries and health are assessed and as he comes to trust his new caretakers.

PETA continues to engage with elephant expert advisers in India and abroad in order to help with the transition. We have overcome immense hurdles – including unscrupulous behaviour, the deliberate dissemination of misinformation, attempts at religious blackmail, enormous pressure from sundry quarters, court battles and political corruption – during our efforts to rescue Sunder from the clutches of his physical abusers and mental tormentors.

We are ever so grateful to every single soul who found a way to help and who joined the #FreeSunder campaign, thereby becoming part of this joyful outcome. More than 220,000 people from around the world wrote to authorities seeking Sunder’s release through action alerts on PETA affiliates’ websites. Many celebrities – including Paul McCartney, Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Pamela Anderson, Arjun Rampal, R Madhavan, Gulshan Grover, Kapil Sharma and others – took to Twitter or helped in other ways to keep the spotlight on this long campaign for Sunder’s release.

At one point, Maharashtra Minister of Forests Dr. Patangrao Kadam and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued orders for Sunder’s release, but those orders were ignored. Senior Counsel Shiraz Rustomjee and Counsel Rohan Rajadhyaksha won for Sunder in the Bombay High Court. M/s K Ashar & Co Advocates & Solicitors were the advocates on record for PETA for the cases in the Bombay High Court and Supreme Court, and Senior Counsel Raj Panjwani won the case for Sunder in the Supreme Court.

We thank Suparna Ganguly of the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre for her support of the campaign and MP Maneka Gandhi, who helped us greatly by using her significant authority to end the stalling. We are also thankful to the Maharashtra Forest Department and numerous veterinary and other elephant experts for assisting with Sunder’s move to Bangalore, and to scientist Surendra Verma and animal behaviour consultant Margaret Whittaker for guiding us in other ways.

Most of all, we would like to commend our hardworking staff and supporters who lost sleep, travelled between government offices, briefed lawyers and reporters, took undercover photographs and videos of abuse or helped in other ways.

The elephant care centre at Bannerghatta Biological Park sits in a wonderful natural forest with ponds and streams and will serve as a safe refuge for Sunder. It also has the potential to develop into a world-class facility.

Here are some pictures of Sunder and of his new home:

Sunder is already making himself at home at his new home

Sunder is already making himself at home at his new home.

Other elephants at the park who will soon be Sunder’s friends.

Other elephants at the park who will soon be Sunder’s friends.

Sunder’s soon-to-be new friends going to the lake.

Sunder’s soon-to-be new friends going to the lake.

Sunder's new home 2

More soon-to-be friends of Sunder.



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  • Toby

    I am not able to find any updates on Mali the elephant – I contacted PETA Asia Pacific and nothing from this group. is there an alternative contact for PETA Asia? also, what’s the latest update on Sunder? THANK YOU

  • Toby

    any further updates on Sunder? Also, any updates on Malia the elephant – looking forward to hearing back from you soon. thanks

  • Jo

    I am so happy to know Sunder is finally going to have the love and care he so deserves. I will never understand how people can be so cruel animals. Thank you PETA for caring. Jo

  • Kola

    I barely have the words to describe how i feel about the release of Sunder and the work done by Peta and everyone else concerned to secure his release. What a miracle. Oh what a happy elephant he will be in time. It is how it should be in this world. Please God.

  • Tania Irvine

    what a wonderful outcome from all that heartache. Looking forward to seeing sunder enjoying the rest of his life.

  • Toby

    thank you for this update

  • Toby

    hello – how’ Sunder – is he okay? we would like an update please

  • Toby

    do you have any more videos/pictures to share with us on Sunder? How’s he doing?

    • PETA

      Hi Toby! There will be an update soon. Thanks for the patience and support :)

  • Nancy Snyder

    A great day for Sunder and all of us. Hopefully, another elephant will never be chained and harmed ever again.

    Kudos to PETA! Thank you!

  • Toby

    hello any further updates on Sunder?

    • PETA

      There will be an update soon. Thanks for the support!

  • Marcy Bernstein

    Thanks for the updates. I want to see more updates.

  • Toby

    thank you for providing video update on Sunder – I don’t want Sunder to be forgotten! for a moment i thought everyone just forgot about Sunder since the rescue. Please keep posting updates on Sunder – THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN. I KNOW HAVE FAITH IN PETA.

  • Toby

    any further updates on Sunder – thanks

  • Maryloo

    Thank you so much PETAIndia….what a great victory. Thank you for keeping up the fight. May his handler experience karma very soon.

  • Gail Woolfenden

    many many congratulations PETA!….how sad to hear of the final torment of this beautiful young creature even as he was leaving his tormentors.

    Knowing PETA exists eases my pain..with gratitude and appreciation.

  • Bgriyson

    Thank you PETA for all of the truly effective and important work you do. This mission has been accomplished. I apologize to you on behalf of all of the closed-minded people out there who love to put PETA down. Never stop.

  • Bgriyson

    Thank you PETA for the wonderful work you do, Sunder is an example of PETA making a difference where it counts and is desperately needed.

  • Jill Deane

    Brilliant news, thank you PETA, wonderful to have some heartwarming news amidst all the horrors of man’s inhumanity to animals.

  • Rhonwen

    Animal cruelty needs to stop. I mean, if people want their protein so much, why can’t thy eat different things instead?

  • Jan Whiteley

    This is a joyful day to know that Sunder has been rescued from the torment of physical and mental abuse. How could anyone want to keep this wonderful creature captive except those who seek to gain monetarily from him. Let’s hope that the remaining elephants in the same situation in India can be rescued very soon.

  • Agata Williams

    I’m so happy to see this. Thank you PETA!

  • Chip Pough

    What a long overdue but such a welcome victory.. I felt for Sunder each and every day. I live in Thailand and have seen first hand training of elephants, first they are deprived if their mothers, Then the whips and chain beatings begin, Simply Awfull

  • Gill

    Wonderful,beyond our wildest dreams,Thank you for taking care of Sunder.

  • He finally looks happy!

  • Kasia MN

    I am so glad to to read this news. Thank you for hard work and we all can make a difference.
    Will support you always. :)

  • Pat Mcnicholl

    Wonderful,thankyou so so much Peta and all who helped.I am so glad How great it would be if all elephants could be so lucky.

  • I am delighted that this wonderful release for this beautiful innocent elephant has been won….just goes to prove that when we get our voices together as one, we can definitely affect change. Let’s do this in all animal abuse. Make your voice heard!

  • Julie Ritson

    Awe Sunder must think all his birthdays have come at once. So nice to see him in such a lovely environment.

  • Julie

    Awe Sunder must be thinking all his birthdays have come at once. It is great to see him so happy.

  • Athena

    Thank you! Thank you!! We are overjoyed and overwhelmed by the kindness and love of all who have helped Sunder <3

  • How wonderfully heart warming to know that lovely animal has been rescued from his life of torment. Thanks and congratulations to all concerned.

  • Maggie

    wonderful and heartening news. Thank you for all your hard work and determination.

  • David Parker

    Wonderful news! I hope Sunder will fully recover in what looks a lovely animal sanctuary. BUT!!! – WHY do people treat animals in this disgraceful manner? It breaks my heart. Thankfully, there are organizations like PETA that do so much to redress the balance. I think large wild animal sanctuaries are the only answer. Well done to all concerned!

  • Lynn Elson

    THANKYOU, THANKYOU, THANKYOU, to PETA and EVERYONE involved in getting Sundra to safety and away from cruelty. I am so happy for him.

  • Fatima

    I wish there were more sanctuaries like this. I wish PETA had a lot more supporters and more power – they are the REAL HEROES of the 21st century. Thank you for doing what you do. Tank you for caring. Thank you for being better than I am. :(

    • PETA

      Hi Fatima, you can get active for animals by signing up to our Activist Network: We’d love you to join :)

  • your care is precoius, thank you very much

  • Hilarie

    Thank you PETA and PETAIndia for helping Sunder, and for all the good work you do. I will never undersand what makes a human being want to hurt an animal. Sunder – I wish you all the happiness you deserve in your lovely new home.

  • PatriciaOhldag

    God bless you sunder

  • Natalia Graham

    I am delighted that Sunder is where he should be and surrounded by his new elephant family. Well done everyone.

  • Carol (NI)

    Amazing achievement – simply amazing. Thank you to all at PETA for your extremely hard work and commitment.

  • Jill Cross

    Thank you to everyone who helped so hard in the release



  • If there is no accountability for abuse and crimes towards the innocent then there is no justice for anyone.

  • wonderful!

  • Lisa Wilkinson

    Thanks to all who helped to make this happen! Makes me cry happy tears.

  • Great to see this achievement. And there are hundreds more abused elephants in India. I Stilo canr’t forget chained elephants,clearly depressed, wobbling back and forth in Aurangabad. I contacted various organisations but they were not able to help.Please share my short video, maybe they can be saved too?

  • Carmen

    So happy to see Sunder rescued from mean heartless people, I hope his wound heals soon and he lives for many years to enjoy his freedom, well done PETA!!

  • Lavinia Lewis

    It is imperative that Sunder’s abusers are punished, this will send a clear message that animal abuse will not be tolerated.

  • This type of abuse to animals needs to be addressed by the people who live in these countries, they must watch it day after day,I know lots of people try to survive themselves, but an animal can’t speak up can it?

  • Peter Le Breton

    fantastic job well done thanks to Peta and thousands of people all over the world can you make a video of sunder in her new home asap. lso what has happened to the bastard who kept beating her and find out why he was beting her so much and was he obeying orders or just drunk with the power he had over such a large animal


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