Following Long PETA Campaign, Abused Elephant Sunder En Route To Rescue Centre

For Immediate Release:

5 June 2014


Dr Manilal Valliyate; [email protected]

Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

Despite All Obstacles, Young Elephant Should Soon Receive Care and the Company of 13 Other Elephants

Kolhapur – This morning, young elephant Sunder was put onto a truck by a team of experts who had travelled to Kolhapur to work with the Maharashtra Forest Department and is now on his way to a 49.5 hectare forested elephant care centre in Bangalore where he will have the company of 13 other elephants as per an order of the Supreme Court.

The expert team experienced numerous setbacks, including having their truck tires punctured – likely by people who wanted to keep Sunder on MLA Vinay Kore’s property where he had endured months of abuse. Sunder who also deliberately let loose to make him more difficult to handle. Earlier in the week, the Maharashtra Forest Department failed to clear the area of people shouting at Sunder to confuse him, and failed to control Kore’s abusive mahout, who was giving Sunder the wrong commands in order to prevent him from stepping onto the truck. People who wanted to obstruct Sunder’s move continued to follow the truck menacingly on their motorcycles. Sunder has now made it across the border into Karnataka. Photos of him are available from PETA upon request.

The Jyotiba temple came into possession of Sunder in 2007, but after cruelty such as the use of spiked chains and beatings came to light, the Maharashtra Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam (on 21 August 2012) and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (on 9 November 2012) issued orders for Sunder’s rescue. However, they were never carried out, and Sunder was then spirited away at the behest of Kore and hidden in an old poultry shed, where he continued to be beaten and was so heavily chained that he recently sustained a serious injury to his leg.

“Despite every obstacle thrown in his path, PETA rejoices that this abused young elephant is now on his way to safety”, says PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate. “Sunder has known only cruelty, misery and neglect. The day that Sunder will be able to roam, bathe in ponds, and be in the company of other elephants is near.”

Celebrities such as Paul McCartney, Amitabh Bachchan, Celina Jaitly, Madhuri Dixit, Pamela Anderson, Arjun Rampal, R Madhavan and Gulshan Grover took to Twitter, met with concerned government officials or helped in other ways with the campaign for Sunder’s release.

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