Gajraj the elephant had spent decades in India as an entertainment animal and had really started to feel the impact on his body. He could’ve died at any point in time because of how bad of a shape he was in.
However, animal enthusiasts were about to step in to help him and get him back on his feet.
A Life In Chains
Gajraj was seventy years old and had spent almost his entire life near Shri Bhavani Museum and Yamai Devi temple in Aundh, Satara as an entertainment animal.
They forced him to carry tourists around temples and pose for pictures. Needless to say, spending the entire day on hot pavement affected his body.
Gajraj had abscesses and sores all over his feet. There was a big wound on his foot pad and one of his toes was broken. These are all injuries that could easily get infected. This poor elephant suffered every day, but his life would soon be turned around.
A Long-Awaited Rescue
PETA India, after hearing about the way Gajraj was being abused, started a global campaign, “FreeGajraj,” in a bid to save the helpless elephant. Many celebrities, both local and international including Suniel Shetty, Athiya Shetty, Sunny Leone, and Jacqueline Fernandez-supported this cause.
They were able to draw more than 200,000 supporters using a petition online, all of whom demanded the elephant’s release.
Veterinarians appointed by the government of Maharashtra confirmed that Gajraj was, in fact, suffering from prolonged and untreated abscesses on his elbows and hindquarters in addition to the sores he had on his feet.
Furthermore, they found out that neither his handler nor his custodian had given him basic healthcare, even vaccination or deworming. The Maharashtra Forest Department put their foot down, issuing the release for Gajraj.
The Path To Healing
After Gajraj was released, he was transported to the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center for medical treatment and rest. Gajraj was in the right place as this hospital was fully equipped with the proper technology and tools of medicine needed to help him heal.
Gajraj is finally consistently recovering after many years of abuse. He is now allowed to move around freely and is in the process of learning to trust people again. And it is all because of those who were able to recognize his trouble and pain and fight relentlessly to help him gain freedom.