For Immediate Release:
3 August 2012
Dr Manilal Valliyate; [email protected]
Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]
Former Baywatch Star and Bigg Boss Guest Appeals to Maharashtra MLA to Send Abused Baby Elephant – the Same Age as One of Her Sons – to a Sanctuary Posthaste
Mumbai – Moments after learning about the plight of a young elephant who has been beaten so badly by his mahout (or handler) that he sustained an eye injury and is kept in chains, Pamela Anderson fired off a letter to Mr Vinay Kore, a member of the legislative assembly of Maharashtra state and the leader of the Jan Surajya Shakti Party, from her home in Malibu, California. The beloved star with the big heart, who came to India in November 2010, wants the little elephant, named Sunder, to be removed from Jyotiba Temple in Kolhapur district in Maharashtra and sent to a sanctuary right away, before he suffers more. The elephant was donated to the temple by Mr Kore. Earlier this week, former Beatle Paul McCartney interrupted his Olympics rehearsals to send an urgent appeal to Forest Minister Dr Patangrao Shripatrao Kadam to help free Sunder from chains.
“I am in tears over the plight of the little elephant, Sunder, who you so kindly gave to Jyotiba Temple with the best of intentions. I am sure you are also crushed by what has been done to this little soul. He is the age of one of my sons, and as sensitive as anyone’s child. Like other victims of abuse, he will be scarred for life mentally, as he already is physically”, writes Anderson, the mother of two. “I’m sure you feel as I do that elephants are precious creatures of God, and it is a crime against Heaven that he could have been allowed to be treated like this. Sunder must be rescued without delay. May everyone, including me, count on you, please, to save this youngster?” Anderson’s plea follows PETA India’s discovery that Sunder was being abused by his mahout, who has gone on the run from the police since the group became involved. Sunder has suffered a severe injury to his right eye from being jabbed in it with an ankus (a sharp, hooked metal poker-like weapon) by the boy mahout. He is also confined to chains with sharp spikes and is kept alone inside a dark shed, where he cannot take even a single step in any direction. Sunder is denied all that is natural and important to him and lives in fear. Lesions all over his body indicate past beatings by the mahout.
A scandal is growing over the way some elephants used in Indian temples to represent the Hindu god Ganesha are being housed and mistreated. Frequently controlled through beatings and prodded and gouged in sensitive areas behind their knees and ears with an ankus, they languish without veterinary care for even serious conditions, sustain leg injuries and are fed unsuitable food. Many elephants at Indian temples also show signs of severe psychological distress, such as swaying, head-bobbing and weaving – behaviour not found in healthy elephants in nature. Elephants also suffer from a lack of exercise and years spent standing in one position on hard concrete surfaces amid their own waste, which can lead to painful and crippling foot ailments and arthritis.
Pamela Anderson’s letter is attached. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.