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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.
  • So happy I have tears in my eyes! This wonderful place reminds me of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, USA! Thank you and keep up the brilliant work.

  • Rebecca Hillson

    my heart aches.. beautiful just beautiful…just pure joy to see sunder (at last) free!! just knowing he will now, albeit slowly at first and having to build trust etc, get on with his life, in peace, knowing that every day is now a better happier day for him, filled with goodness and love.. god im filling up just knowing that after so many years of pain and having to live with what he had to, day in day out, year after year with no hope of nothing better, to finally being free! well, its just amazing..thank you to all of you for doing what others cant and putting yourselves out there and doing what you have to do, your all amazing beautiful people and all of us backing what you do, together we can all make a difference!! :O)

  • Claudia Gibson

    What a triumph for such a dedicated effort! It just fills my heart with love to know he will be loved and cared for and have a wondered refuel new life. God bless all those involved, it was truly a worldwide effort!✌️

  • Amanda Downing

    I am so happy to see this happening. Sunder deserves this. All elephants should be able to roam free.

  • Jackie Marsh

    Thank you for the uplifting news. So happy to hear that social media helped!

  • Gillian Cooper

    This story of sunder has brought tears happy and sad to my eyes sad because the way this poor baby was treated but happy tears now because he’s has got anew he truely deserves and the wonderfull people that are now carving for sunder sunder May you have a wonderfull life

  • Kathy Shantz

    So great to see this amazing guy being accepted by others. He’s had a horrible life now thanks to all those who joined hands to fight for his life is a testament to the power of the people to right a wrong. With unity comes strength. This fight isn’t over
    There are many more that need help but we are capable of turning the bad to good.

  • Reggieknows

    Are their photos of his meeting of Van Raj, Shiva, or any other interactions?

  • Noreen Scully

    I am so moved by Sunders sad tragic life and now he will have happiness and a family like all elephants deserve! U do such wonderful kind acts 4 animals! Thank u thank u 4 helping this magnificant creature have his forever home in peace and happiness!

  • I am simply filled with joy at seeing so many people working together to make this awesome opportunity happen for Sunder. Keep up the great work folks! I am proud of all of you! Dean Leh, New Mexico

  • I have loved helped voiced for Sunder for about a year ..It is with heartfelt thanx I write choked up watching Sunder here ..Thank you peta India for info updates and helping this poor Elephant…Look forward to learning more of his progress
    Angel Flysagain

  • Shar

    there is no words to express the joy of finally seeing sunder free and being taken care of thanks to Peta and everyone for your hard hard work it is absolutely amazing. lots of prayers for his speedy healing of his leg so he can go forth and finally be an elephant thank you

  • Leslie

    Thank you. I am overjoyed knowing that Sunder will finally be free of chains and cared for properly. It gives me great happiness knowing that he will be in the company of other elephants and have the ability to be at peace and to thrive. AT LONG LAST. Please continue to keep us all updated!

  • Liz Porter

    we have all waited so long for Sunder to find peace…please take care of him. This hasnt changed the world …but it has certainly changed his world….<3

  • Chrissy

    This is wonderful to see Sunder settling into his new home. Thank you for all you do for these majestic animals

  • Bless every caring person, PETA that rescued Sunder, and now the Park he will be rehabilitated before releasing him to the permanent area he will live in the company of other eles. It bring tears to hear of his serious wound — poor Baby! Please please treat it before it becomes so infected, serious surgery would be the only way to save his leg. It’s tearful how happy and moved he was to see the other eles, two of them females near him and Shiva enthusiasm’s for Sunder. With time he will be able to be enthusiastic too; his suffering must be years in his mind, to be able to experience enthusiasm. I pray his nature is not broken and that he becomes healthy, pain free and mobile to roam without ropes. I have faith Sunder would never hurt anyone especially when He didn’t hurt the monsters that beat and hurt him before, everyone at the Park should not be afraid of him. If they trust Sunder, he will learn to trust everyone. No more mahouts afraid of him, please.

  • Lori Crouse

    I have a happy lump in my throat the size of a boulder.

  • Kevan

    what a sight to behold…Thank you ALL for your hard work and efforts, we who are far away are sending you lots of respect and admiration, may only blessings come to all of you who made this happen and especially to Sunder….a million times- Thank You!!!

  • Veronica Calhoun

    WOOHOO!!! Wonderful news – I hope Sunder has a speedy recovery both physically and mentally and enjoys the rest of his time with his new friends and family!!

  • Disha

    this isss soo amazing..felt so wonderful to read teary eyed,,he deserves all the happiness in the world!!bless him!n thank you..keep us updated!

  • KarenM

    My heart is about fit to burst with happiness reading that Sunder finally is free. I hope beyond hope that the vets can help him with his leg injury, good food, love and attention will go a long way to helping the healing process, stress is no good for the immune system. Bless every single person who made this happen, you are all amazing, and make me feel most humble.

  • Ajay Negi

    Amazing work done by you people….Great commitment.

  • Erika Satkoski

    Yes, overjoyed! : )

  • Melissa Keon

    Thank you!!!

  • Patricia McMorrow

    Thank you for this wonderful news about precious Sunder. I am overjoyed!

  • Santosh

    Its very great pleasure to see sunder at His real home……. I am very happy for him….!!!!
    God bless all of you and specially PETA who has taken great effort to come this true…. God bless you all……

  • Jan Pedley

    Simply fabulous news & lifts the spirit to see a happy ending

  • This is so wonderful to read and see the pictures! Thank you so much!!!

  • Paula Ilona

    Thanks for wonderful news !

  • Maureen McGill

    If any soul deserves a chance to be happy it is Sunder;

  • Monnie Levin

    Can’t even find the right words to describe how truly amazing what PETA accomplished through dedication, fortitude and plain ol’ hard work. To say “thank you” seems so inadequate. Now…if we can get Nosey the elephant, existing (not living)in Florida out of her “circus” and into a sanctuary…it would be another victory!

  • My heart is overjoyed to see Sunder finally released from his hell and especially to be among other elephants who soon will become good friends! I hope his terrible injury heals quickly and the ropes will be taken off very soon and at long last this poor creature will know what it feels like to move around freely ..

  • Dorelle Downes

    That is just wonderful to read! Thank you for your updates – and I look forward to more as he settles! With the stress out of his life and more of his kind of friends to relate to and befriend, let’s pray his healing process will not take too long! Thank you all and bless you!

  • Sharon L Robinson Hambley

    The very best welcoming committee EVER!
    Please heal. Quickly, Sunder!
    You have lots of stories to share with your friends!

  • Tera

    Thank you so much for the update!! Thank you, also, for all the time and hard work in getting Sunder to the soft ground and lush landscape. So very joyous to see Sunder free from a terrible situation and now in a loving one. Can someone hug him for me?!

  • Jim Duke

    Am so happy for Sunder–here’s hoping his terrible wound on leg will heal quickly. I shed a few tears when I read that he had touched and ben touched by an older, wiser bull. Elephants are very social, and family is very important . His family of 13 will be there to help and guide him, of this I have no doubt.

  • Suzanne Smith

    It’s heartwarming to hear Sunder’s already made friends. I do hope his leg heals soon so he can get out and about and explore his new home, I very much look forward to seeing him doing that!
    Thank you PETA, our boys finally safe!

  • Caroline

    Thank you so much for the update… happy for Sunder that he is now getting the care he needs…..thank you from all of Sunder’s friends acroos the planet!! kisses andhugs to our wonder boy!!

  • Lorna Jensen

    I feel so happy and excited inside..please keep me posted. How long until see can be released with the rest of the herd. Gob Bless you kind people.


    !!! THANK YOU !!! from the bottom of my heart! Sending positive vibes to all of you and to Sunder and his new elephant family!!!

  • Robina Jamieson

    Thanks for this heartwarming update. I look forward to more updates on Sunder’s progress. Keep up with the good work!

  • Susanna

    Happiness ♡

  • Richard Schmidt

    So happy to see Sunder finally at a very good place, once he is healed he will be very happy to walk free of chains in the park together with his new elephant friends.

  • Maria

    Wonderful.Thank you.

  • Djnan3

    Good job folks

  • Dr Swati

    My eyes smile as I read this post. Sunder you are lucky to have the love of so many people behind you. God bless you with a happy life with friends and health

  • Rupesh

    Will not the mahawat and temple be penalized for mistreating the elephant and to serve a lesson to others?

  • Beautiful ending to a very sad elephant. He is with other elephants and will be able to live without harm and fear. Thank you PETA for all your hard work.

  • At last happy days have come foe Sunder. Hope his former tormenters have been punished. How can people be so cruel to fellow creatures?

  • Ashish

    Love to see Sunder roaming on his will in park with his new friends. PETA has achieved a milestone by fighting for & helping sunder move to the Sanctuary.


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