Madhya Pradesh Court Orders Rehabilitation of ‘India’s Skinniest Elephant’, Following PETA India Campaign

For Immediate Release:

24 December 2021


Khushboo Gupta; [email protected]

Monica Chopra; [email protected]

Bhopal – Following an intensive three-week campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, the Bada Malhera court in Chhatarpur has ordered the permanent rehabilitation of Lakshmi, known as “India’s skinniest elephant”, at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre (ECCC) in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. Efforts by PETA India and local activists had led to her seizure by the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, after which her upkeep was ensured by PETA India’s veterinary experts. This was per the direction of Madhya Pradesh’s chief wildlife warden.

In the second week of December, following complaints by PETA India and local activists, the forest department registered a preliminary offence report under Section 42 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, against Lakshmi’s custodian for illegally keeping her and abusing her for begging. And upon hearing from PETA India, the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change had asked the forest department to take immediate steps to rehabilitate Lakshmi. The court issued a direction to send her to the ECCC based on Wildlife SOS’ willingness to care for her.

“After a life of suffering, Lakshmi will now be on her way to safety,” said Chief Advocacy Officer Khushboo Gupta after the court’s decision. “Lakshmi has known only cruelty, misery, and neglect. Through this order, the honourable court has made clear that cruelty to elephants will not be tolerated.”

When rescued from begging, Lakshmi was suffering from chronic arthritis and joint deformities, with abscesses on her hips. She was in agonising pain and was debilitated because of long-term deprivation of food and water.

During Lakshmi’s interim care under PETA India, the group’s veterinary team created a sandpit to alleviate the pain in her arthritic and deformed legs, provided a pile of mud to help her rest and sleep comfortably, set up a bamboo stand so that she could rest her head and trunk, provided a customised jacket to fight the cold weather at night, and offered her daily grooming and massages to encourage blood flow. She was given daily baths and treated daily for her painful abscesses and other wounds, medicines were given to relieve her joint pain, and her feet and nails were cleaned and moisturised regularly. PETA India also offered her fruit to eat.

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA India, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.