VICTORY – Gajraj the Elephant Rescued After 50 Years in Chains

VICTORY – Gajraj the Elephant Rescued After 50 Years in Chains

Gajraj the elephant is finally free.

For the past five decades, he had been kept in cruel confinement and severely abused as a “temple elephant” in India. His ivory tusks were sawed off. He was shackled and forced to stand on hard, man-made ground, leading to excruciating foot conditions. He had untreated abscesses and open sores, and has long displayed troubling behaviors related to severe stress.

elephant in chains sores

Gajraj in chains at the temple, his legs covered in sores

But thankfully, last week, after years of campaigns and calls for justice, Wildlife SOS transported Gajraj to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, India. PETA India made the travel arrangements, and also funded construction of a new home for Gajraj at the conservation center.

elephant dust bath

Gajraj enjoying a dust bath at his new home at Wildlife SOS

“It took the cooperation and commitment of activists, experts, PETA donors, stars, and politicians as well as several years of slogging, but our collective hearts soared the moment we watched this dear old man step away from his miserable life,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk told Lady Freethinker.

Lady Freethinker also rallied to free Gajraj, with a petition that garnered more than 27,000 signatures.

Life for Gajraj will be very different now. He will never be chained again, and instead will enjoy the freedom to lie down on the soft earth and partake in a refreshing dust bath — which he promptly did once he reached his new home.

This victory shows that change can and does happen with persistence and continual fighting. Sometimes it takes decades, as was the case with Gajraj. But no matter how uphill the battle may seem, we must never give up fighting for what is right. Thank you, PETA and Wildlife SOS for facilitating the rescue of this majestic animal. Gajraj is now in good hands.

Note: Please keep comments peaceful and family friendly.

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  1. Julie Fowles

    Aww I’m so glad he’s living a better life ,he looks so much happier should of happened a long time ago ,but at least he’s free no more chains an cruelty xx

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  2. Carl Jones

    Thank you to ALL involved in this rescue.

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  3. Glenys Roberson

    Thank you Mike for this very good news. It is reassuring to hear that there are a few good, caring people in our broken world. Love and prayers for Gajraj.

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  4. MS

    I can go on and on about the unconscionable cruelty of the past — THANK YOU to all who brought Gajraj to his new home where he can finally be happy, healthy and comfy — For the future, let’s ensure that elephants are no longer exploited and/or abused — we start the fight today.

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  5. Alex Nicole


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  6. Chuck

    awe this made my day for sure! Thank you to each and every soul who made this happen!

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    • Kristine

      My sentiments exactly, bless his heart!! 🙂

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  7. Eileen Frost

    Thank goodness for those of us who care for our fellow creatures and especially for those who are able to help them. There is so much cruelty in this world I sometimes lose faith in the human race but then those of us who care come together to make a good thing happen. I wish I could be more “hand on” but we have many rescue animals and care for my 30yr old horse. I am now in my late 60’s and arthritis is taking a terrible toll, I broke my hip a year ago and things have deterioted since then, I wouldn’t be able to care for my horse if I didn’t have my husband and friends to help. We support many animal and people charities but just wish we could do more. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you have done for this lovely elephant.

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  8. Sheila Winter

    So thankful that this was a successful campaign. Hope Gajraj enjoys a lot of years of FREEDOM!!

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  9. Les Elbourne

    I cannot express the jubilation I am feeling at hearing this great news. Well done to all that were involved in this campaign.

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  10. Ellen McConnell

    So sad that it took 50 yrs to free this precious & innocent elephant. May he live 50 more happy yrs!

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  11. Göran Widheden

    Great news! Keep up the good work — it’s highly appreciated!

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