This is the heartbreaking story of an elephant named Raju from India who had a very rough life. After his mother was poached at a young age Raju was passed from one owner to another, often with little consideration for his welfare. He was left without proper shelter and was used as a beggars prop all day long.
Raju only just survived, some days he would resort to eating plastic or paper rubbish after being chained for 24 hours a day. SOS-UK decided that they could not stand by and let this happen to Raju any longer, so in a daring midnight operation they set Raju free.
When Raju realised what was happening he began to cry - “It was incredibly emotional. We knew in our hearts he realised he was being freed” – claims Pooja Binepal, one of the rescuers in an interview with Presspeople.
Elephants have a large hippocampus, which is a brain structure linked to emotion. Although it's not proven, it is thought that elephants are able to weep as part of an emotional response to a situation.
Raju's owner tried to resist the attempt to free him. But rescuers stood their ground.
The chains restraining Raju were so tight they took 45 minutes to remove before he could be set free.
Raju was exhausted from his ordeal.
Wildlife SOS-UK are hoping to raise £10,000 to ensure this amazing elephant spends the rest of his life free. Find out more here.