Elephant Raju’s heartbreaking story began when he was taken away from his mother by poachers in India. He was then passed from one owner to another until he ended up living in deplorable conditions with no shelter and used for begging purposes. Raju’s only source of sustenance was passing tourists, and he sometimes had to resort to eating plastic and paper. Unfortunately, he was also chained up all day, every day. Fortunately, the wildlife organization SOS-UK could not stand the injustice and decided to save him in a daring midnight rescue operation. When the rescuers arrived, Raju realized he was being saved and started to cry. Pooja Binipal, one of the rescuers, said, “It was an incredibly emotional moment. We knew that he realized he was being freed.” As tears streamed down Raju’s face, he felt hope for the first time.
It’s fascinating to observe that elephants have an exceptionally large hippocampus, a crucial brain component responsible for emotions. In fact, their hippocampus is even larger than that of humans. While we can’t be entirely certain, scientific research indicates that elephants may shed tears as a display of their emotional reaction.
After enduring fifty years of captivity and being restrained, Raju was able to break free when Wildlife SOS UK took action and performed a daring nighttime rescue. His owner made efforts to prevent his release by chaining him up and even shooting at him, but the rescuers did not give up and succeeded in granting Raju his freedom. During the rescue, the elephant cried tears of relief and gratitude.
Raju was completely exhausted and could hardly move after struggling for 45 minutes. Fortunately, he was rescued by brave individuals who managed to free him from his chains. Following his liberation, Raju was transported to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, which was a long 350-mile journey. It wasn’t until midnight on July 4th that he experienced true freedom when he took his first steps towards independence. The organization is confident that Raju will never have to endure such suffering again and will live the rest of his life in peace.
Wildlife SOS UK is currently collecting donations worth £10,000 to support the efforts of improving the living conditions of Raju.