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Sunder: Now and the Next Steps

Written by PETA

Posted 06-07-2014, 06:39 PM | 449 Comments

Congratulations to everyone who helped with the #FreeSunder campaign! It was an enormous effort with a wonderful result. Sunder is now at his new home, as per the order of the Supreme Court.

First, after getting off the truck, Sunder was given fruits. Along the road, he had become accustomed to and seemed to look forward to getting a treat at every stop!


Sunder has a terrible injury  on his leg from being chained too tightly for a long time. It is no doubt painful to him. Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) veterinarians and handlers say that initially Sunder will need to be kept lightly restrained until the injury is brought under control and has healed and until he gets to know the other elephants and the caretakers. He needs to trust that unlike his previous “caretakers” and mahout (handler), they are not out to hurt or trick him. Since he is a large animal who has been very badly abused, precautions must be taken to ensure that he does not hurt himself or others. Right now, Sunder may find it difficult to trust anyone, but that will change.

Sunder’s planned transition is explained in this NDTV report.

Today, officials at the park gave PETA permission to build a temporary enclosure inside the resting area where all the elephants are kept at night for Sunder, where he can be managed during treatment and also protected from rain as useful for the treatment of his injury. His injury is, however, massive and is just above a joint that will be hard to heal, but the veterinarians are working on it. BBP has also given PETA permission to build a 1.25-acre sturdy enclosure that can be used for male elephants when in musth (a period of sexual urge that makes them aggressive), where they can be kept chain-free (the traditional method in India is to keep them in chains during this time). This enclosure can be used at other times, too, such as for the gentle introduction of any other rescued elephant to the park before he or she joins the herd.

Once he is thought to be psychologically and physically ready, Sunder will be transitioned to be with his new family, with whom he will be able to walk around freely.

He has already met a few of those family members and was quite excited to see them. His loneliness and desire for the company of other elephants over the years, after being taken from his mother, must have been overwhelming.

The first elephant Sunder met was Van Raj, a giant bull elephant. Dr Manilal Valliyate, PETA’s director of veterinary affairs, reports, “When Van Raj went near Sunder, he was a little scared, but when Van Raj touched him, that was the moment I saw a glow in Sunder’s eyes. He also touched Van Raj and found himself to be in the comfort of his first friend at the Elephant Care Centre!”

Sunder was first unloaded from the truck in the forest and then moved to the Elephant Care Centre. Dr Valliyate reports, “When two female elephants and Van Raj came to accompany Sunder to the Elephant Care Centre, it was such a wonderful sight to see Sunder surrounded by company of his own species. Maybe for the first time, he tried to strike a chord with the ladies near him. He touched and smelled them.”

Another new family member Sunder met was this baby elephant, Shiva:


Shiva excitedly greeted Sunder, but since Sunder may not have ever seen a baby elephant before, he was scared. With the enthusiasm Shiva showed in making Sunder a new friend, it seems likely that the two will become playmates and best buddies in time.

Other elephants in the park bathe in the pond and wander about on their own with their mahouts watchful but at a distance. Park officials have told 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 – to roam freely at all times except when they need medical treatment.


For more information on Sunder, keep an eye on this blog.

Commenting is closed.
  • Debra

    Thank-you for Sunders’ care and release, it brings tears to me seeing any animal mistreated. I not wealthy to help with donations but wish I could help.

    • PETA

      Hi Debra, where are you based?

  • Norma Bishop

    i love Eliphants , and want to go and do some charity work to help them ! Do you have any people doing charity work thete from all over the world ? Norma x x x

    • PETA

      Hi Norma, You can search for a local NGOs here – and work with them.

  • I am beyond words HAPPY!!! All animals deserve to be treated with compassion and love. Please go to my Facebook page under Carol Fant and sign the Carte2 petition for Mali’s transfer. She has suffered long enough and deserves the life she was meant to live. Thank you!!! ***Please press sign at each place or it won’t count…thank you again!!

  • I did need a tissue, I have been signing petitions for this poor dear elephant for a very long time. Praise the Lord, he is finally free to do what elephants do. Thank you for all the work involved to make this elephants remaining days cruelty free.

  • Julie Homer

    A beautiful story. This is whats needed for all amimals that should be in the wild and protected from poachers.

  • That is awesome to see free elephants
    Its horrible to see them in circuses and wherever

  • Sharon

    Praying for Sunder ‘s speedy recovery. Thanks to everyone who made this possible. ♡♡♡

  • Pat Edelston

    Very happy for Sunder to be with his new friends.

  • Susanna Minacheili

    wow so lovely to see Sunder happy and safe with other elephants !!! thank you for all you do for Sunder ,he really deserves to feel like an elephant ,free and happy in his natural environment .

  • L

    This wonderful story I can think of and look at pictures on daily. The joy on the elephant’s face, and the hard work PETA did on this is such a joyous story. These magnificent animals are really special to watch (in surroundings they were meant to live in). I can see however how people want to adorn them with jewels. Didn’t know they ate coconuts thanks so much for sharing these pictures.

    Happy Holidays PETA

  • Natalie Nevera

    I am so happy that Sunder is free and safe at last, Iheard about another elephant that needs saving from an abuser and I wish we could find a way to save him also he is being tortured daily and injured his name is Nosey owner Hugo Liebel

  • I am so very happy for Sunder — and so deeply grateful for PETA and all the kind and caring people in India who are helping him — that my eyes are filled with tears and it’s difficult to type! The description of Sunder meeting other Elephants for the first time, was the clincher. What a marvelous thing you all have done, the best Karma possible! It gives me tremendous joy to think that we on Care2 did our bit to aid Sunder. Blessings to all, to the BBP, and of course, to Sunder as well. And thank you for your comment, Rahul S. Karnawat!


  • Sue


  • Thats some thing I would love to do for all animals to I really need to get et lots of help to get sget started call me at 8155432799

    • PETA

      Hi Melissa, please e-mail us at with details about how you’d like to help. Look forward to your e-mail. Thanks!

  • Nancy DeLong

    Thanks to all who helped and care! We humans are showing signs of progress, get well soon Sunder, there is hope for all.

  • Dear PETA. So good news. Thanks :'( . And <3 from us in DK

  • Oh HAPPY SUNDER,I hope he lives out his life in peace and tranquillity thanks to everyone who made it possible.

  • Babette Kiesel?AKA Toni Ripp

    Brought tears to my eyes. Thanks.

  • Cynthia Campbell

    It is so heartwarming to see Sunder finally free and sorrounded by people who really care for him. Thank You PETA for doing everything to free Sunder. This one of the reasons why I support your group in all your mission. More power to Sunder and PETA! Keep up the good work.

  • Elsje Massyn

    Animals especially wild animals like Rhino & Elephants are under such great pressure not just in Africa but all over the world. What PETA & their friends are doing for Sunder is the biggest miracle ever. Thank you. You are a shining light on a dark planet.

  • Brenda

    Words can’t express how happy I am for the beautiful Sunder. He so deserves this as many other elephants do too!!! He is FREE !!!!!

  • Marjorie Hass

    Sure makes me feel good that I played a small part in this. God bless Sunder.

  • Marjorie Hass

    Sure makes me feel good to know that I played a small part in this. God bless Sunder.

  • Thank you so much..yes we win love happy ending for sunder..

  • Thank you so much..yes we win love happy ending for sunder…

  • Jim Fox

    Happy days !! Delighted

  • Danielle Lortie

    Thank you so much for the good news. Thanks to everyone who made it possible!
    Happy free life Sunder|

  • Julia

    It is overwhelming news, but i cannot believe i missed his transfer as have been aware of his plight for so long. Glad that i wrote to PETA and asked. I hope there will be some videos of him at the sanctuary. God bless dear Sunder.

  • Rose- Marie Grobbelaar

    What wonderful and heartwarming news!! Hugs and kisses to all those determined and heart working angels. May all the suffering and neglected elephants in India be as fortunate as Sunder to also find their way to a loving and caring sanctuary.

  • Bob

    A very big thank you to one and all, to those that made this possible!
    Sunder deserves it>

  • Kunjal

    Heartwarming….Thank you PETA!!! Give love…Get love :)


    Merci PETA pour SUNDER je suis heureuse pour lui mais il y en à tellement d’autres qui souffrent encore .

  • Britt

    Wonderful news about Sunder.

  • Ally

    Heart warming. Thank you, PETA!

  • Namita

    Thank you!

  • Hector


  • Lottie Knauss

    It renews my hope. Many thanks to all those who worked so tirelessly to free this magnificent elephant. So much animal cruelty throughout the world, it is
    so good to hear a success story. Keep up the wonderful work.

  • Doreen Harkins

    Thank God, at last, this poor soul will have health, happiness, peace and tranquility, and LOTS of time with his new friends! May he live to a ripe old age and know that not all humans are evil and he will only receive the best the sanctuary can offer him! No living breathing being deserves to be harmed like poor Sunder was but we know there are more out there like him that need saving. We must fight for them too! Stay strong Sunder and get well soon!

  • L Robinson

    Just a simple thank you will suffice. Wonderful job!

  • Your perseverance in saving Sunder was wonderful for this poor elephant. Such a happy ending! Thank you for making this world a better place!

  • Dib

    This has made my year!!! Wonderful work to PETA for yet again another victory.THANK YOU

  • Patrice

    Happy days are ahead for this big sweetie!

  • It is so beautiful to see a happy animal.
    Maybe just one, but what a lot of hard work it must have taken to rescue just one animal.

  • Dr. Markus Cudaj

    Thanks to everyone who helped saving these animals from suffering and offered them a lovely place to live.

  • Dawn

    I am so excited about this!! thank you so much….with out you I could not have helped. can’t wait to see more photos and I hope his wounds heal quickly. good luck sunder!!!

  • Lynne FitzGerald

    what a wonderful story. Very touching.

  • Alison Elliot

    Absolutely brilliant!

  • Dorothy Beechers

    God Bless Sunder and everyone who helped to free him.
    The people who did this to him, his mahouts and the corrupt system show to the world the type of people they are, sadistic abusers of the innocent and vunerable.
    When i saw recent photo of his leg i was very angry, although his eye has been injured and other injuries with the disgusting bullhook.
    He is malnourished, and dehydrated.
    His new home is lovely, the wonderful people treating and caring for them are angels.

  • Germaine Bahlke

    I can’t even think of words to describe how happy I am for Sunder. I hope that this beautiful animal will be able to learn to trust people that care for him. I wish he could understand that he will never be hurt by people again and what a wonderful life he will have. Give him a hug from animal lovers everywhere.


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