New First Photos: Abused Elephant Sunder Reaches Rescue Park After Long PETA Campaign

For Immediate Release:

6 June 2014


Dr Manilal Valliyate; [email protected]

Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

Countless Obstacles Overcome, Young Elephant to Roam, Bathe in Ponds and Socialise With Other Elephants

Bangalore – Early this morning, after a nearly 24-hour drive, sometimes chased by threatening men on motorcycles, young elephant Sunder reached a 49.5-hectare forested elephant-care centre at Bannerghatta Biological Park,as per an order of the Supreme Court. After he has adjusted to his new situation and his serious leg wounds caused by long-term painfully tight chaining have healed, he will be able to roam the grounds freely in the company of 13 other elephants. Sunder’s rescue comes after a two-year campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India – along with Animal Rahat’s support – that included the secret documentation of video footage and photographs of Sunder’s plight, numerous meetings with government officials, celebrity involvement, online appeals and victories in the High Court and the Supreme Court.

Photos and video of Sunder will be available upon request.

The rescue is supported by celebrities Paul McCartney, Amitabh Bachchan, Celina Jaitly, Madhuri Dixit, Pamela Anderson, Arjun Rampal, R Madhavan, Gulshan Grover and many others who took to Twitter, met with concerned government officials or helped in other ways with the campaign for Sunder’s release.

The Jyotiba temple came into possession of Sunder in 2007, but after incidents of 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 Member of Legislative Assembly Vinay 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, which veterinary experts are working to address.

“Despite every obstacle thrown in his path, PETA rejoices that this abused young elephant is now at a safe refuge”, says PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate. “Sunder has known only cruelty, misery and neglect. PETA is so grateful to Sunder’s many well-wishers around the world who helped campaign for his rescue. Soon, Sunder will be roaming, bathing in ponds, socialising with other members of his own species and … well, being an elephant.”

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