Wildlife SOS has done it again! At the beginning of 2015, this amazing India-based animal rescue organization vowed to save 67 elephants from captivity and they are well on their way to reaching this goal. Just a few weeks ago, they rescued Suzy, the former circus elephant and we are thrilled to announce that they have also saved Asha, an abused street elephant as well!
Before Asha was rescued by Wildlife SOS, she spent 46 years working on the streets of Amber Fort, Jaipur, giving rides to paying customers. Between carrying the weight of tourists and having to trek up the steep hills of this popular destination, Asha was injured and could no longer work in this capacity.
Rather than retiring this poor elephant, her owners sold her to become a “begging” elephant across the country to Indore. Asha’s new owner kept her chained up at all times, using harsh spikes to keep her from moving. Because she was viewed as a prop to elicit cash from tourists, Asha was never given the proper care or treatment that she deserved.
Asha suffers from arthritis which makes it difficult for her to walk and even lie down on her right side. Her toenails are far overgrown and dig into her feet. Given the fact that lameness is the leading cause of death for elephants, these injuries are extremely troubling. She also has a number of abscess wounds that have gone untreated, indicative of her abuse.
Thankfully, these days are over Asha! Wildlife SOS was able to win Asha’s freedom with the cooperation of the Chief Wildlife Wardens of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. After a period of waiting for paperwork and permits to go through, Asha is on her way to the Wildlife SOS elephant sanctuary.
“At her new home, Asha will no longer be abused with spikes or beatings and will have her own enclosure to walk in freely sans chains with access to a fresh water pool,” says Geeta Seshamani, co-founder Wildlife SOS, “She will also have the company of nine other elephants and learn to be part of a social group, something which is very important in the emotional life of an elephant.”
After spending the past 46 years in chains, this will certainly be a welcome change for Asha. We cannot thank Wildlife SOS enough for the amazing work they are doing to help free elephants from captivity, and wish Asha the best of luck in her new home!