In 2015, 60-year-old Lakhi the elephant was rescued from cruel owners who’d blinded her and subjected her to decades of abuse as a begging elephant. Lakhi was taken to Wildlife SOS in Mathura, India, to live out her remaining days in comfort and peace.

After a few months of TLC from her rescuers, the initially apprehensive elephant warmed up to her new environment. Lakhi was accepted into a herd and loved playing in the pool and scratching against trees.

Elephants that are older when they’re rescued tend to suffer numerous health problems caused by decades of captivity are difficult to fully rehabilitate. Lakhi’s rescuers therefore focused on making her time at the sanctuary as comfortable as possible after doing what they could to improve her ravaged health. When she began showing signs of slowing down, her caretakers knew the time to say “goodbye” would soon come.

On March 3rd, Lakhi’s legs buckled and she was reluctant to be helped up. It seemed as if she knew it was her time, according to the staff at Wildlife SOS. She passed away peacefully, surrounded by caretakers and members of her herd, both of whom had immediately rushed to her aid the moment she fell.

Thanks to the heroic efforts of her rescuers, Lakhi enjoyed the life she deserved during her final years.

Let her story remind us that elephants belong in the wild — and to never patronize a circus or tourist attraction that exploits these gentle giants for human profit.