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Gajraj the elephant spent 51 years of his life as a present to the Queen of Aundh, kept in chains at a temple in Satara, India – but all that is changing now!

At the age of 70, Gajraj has spent the majority of his days used in temple processions. When his health started to give, he was turned into a kind of permanent tourist attraction.

The elephant suffering from wounds and abscesses, especially around his legs where he was being hurt over and again with the heavy shackles that rubbed on his skin, to the point where flesh was exposed. He also became partially blind and was exhibiting many signs of zoochosis. This poor animal was noted swaying back and forth, bobbing his head, and trying to free himself from the shackles – compulsively and neurotically, but hopelessly. Further, Gajraj’s tusks have been sawed off to “protect” people who saw him, but they could just as well have been sold in the ivory market.

The elephant’s condition was declining quickly and his release and retirement became the focus of many groups and individuals. PETA launched a campaign for Gajraj and a petition by Elephant Freedom Fighters has been circulating to get him out. Now, our wish for justice and respect for Gajraj has become reality – the elephant is moving to a sanctuary!

The rescue of beautiful Gajraj has been carried out by Wildlife SOS, with the help of heavy police protection and cooperation from Maharashtra Forest Department. The elephant is moving to their Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura.

Gajraj at Aundh prior to his rescue

In his new home, he will spend the rest of his life in safety, surrounded by respect and love, in conditions suitable to the needs of an animal of his species.

Gajraj with team Wildlife SOS

Together with a lifetime care, Gajraj will also receive much needed long-term medical treatment. His plight finally came to an end after a medical examination revealed that he required treatment for his toenail abscess, which could spread to the bone. He also had hip abscesses and severe degeneration of foot pads – all of which qualified him as a candidate for geriatric care at the center.

The mob gathered around the Wildlife SOS Elephant Ambulance in Aundh

The elephant was given a warm farewell by the royal family of Aundh.

Gajraj entering the Wildlife SOS Elephant Ambulance

Despite the unexpected upheaval caused by the local villagers at the departure of Gajraj, the animal was successfully placed inside the elephant Ambulance and set out on his journey!

The Wildlife SOS team and local police preparing for the loading process


This wonderful animal will finally have his happy ending and the years of his late life will be filled only with good things. “The advancing age of this elephant means more he needs a lot of medical care more than anything else,” said Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder Wildlife SOS, “We shall give him the best of care.”

To learn more about Wildlife SOS, click here.

All image source: Wildlife SOS

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0 comments on “After Over 50 Years in Chains – Gajraj the Elephant is Going to Sanctuary! (PHOTOS)”

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1 Years Ago

He was abandoned and someone hacked off his tusks he\'s covered in wounds and absesses and just left chained and the chains have cut too. Whoever gave him some food is kind but these horrors are happening everyday to these poor elephants. They are caught up in the fanatical religeous belief that they are the embodiement of ganish. Pity they don\'t practice what they preach.

1 Years Ago

It is royal garbage for that family to receive great recognition for releasing the elephant because they should have released him
years ago!!!! They knew it was wrong to shackle him, but did it anyway for their own selfishness! An elephant\'s life span is 70
years and he has already lived his life in prison! How shameful!! This is God creature; he created this elephant for humans to
enjoy in their natural habitat and to be cared and loved for!!! Karma will get this royal family!!

19 Jun 2017

One more thing, Gajraj, he will never forget how he was treated!! Elephants never forget!! When Jesus Christ makes his
second coming to earth again the earth will be restored to its orginial beauty with all animals on earth again in their natural habitat, safe and happy and with their own kind as it should be!!! It will be so beautiful!! I hope I have the honor to see it for
myself, don\'t you!!!!!
Thank you, Jesus, our Lord and Savior

john pasqua
1 Years Ago


Silver wing
1 Years Ago

"The elephant was given a warm farewell by the royal family of Aundh." Haha, what a joke! The only thing missing here is them fossil parasites weeping for losing their beloved pet.

1 Years Ago

Royal garbage! That\'s how they treat those in their care?!!!! The rescuers need to BILL that ROTTEN ROYAL BUNCH for ALL of the elephant\'s medical bills! In other countries they would be arrested for ABUSE! What a bunch of losers. Royal third world criminals, more like!

14 Jun 2017

51 years of hell because someone, 51 years ago, took this elephant away from his own environment to give him to some "royal" family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and THIS "ROYAL" FAMILY NEGLECTED AND ABUSED THIS ELEPHANT FOR 51 YEARS - that\'s why he\'s so sick today.

Finally, Gajraj will be with his own, NO MORE "ROYAL" FAMILY, NO MORE DUMB TOURISTS.

May his health improve and may he be loved and receive the medical care he needs at the Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura.

Thank you Wildlife SOS and Maharashtra Forest Department. KEEP US UPDATED ON GAJRAJ\'S HEALTH.

1 Years Ago

So very relieved for him, but truly - the royal family giving him a warm send off? Respectfully they should have done that years ago. Now Wildlife SOS donators will pick up the very hefty bill for his terrible physical problems - maybe the Royals are donating? For human-kind to ask for his forgiveness is almost to much to ask. Gajraj, I\'m sorry.

Muriel Servaege
1 Years Ago

I hope Gajraj will enjoy his new life in a sanctuary. He has been enslaved for such a long time that I also hope he can "forget" all that he\'s been through. Are there other elephants in his new life?

14 Jun 2017

Muriel Servaege - Wildlife SOS is a sanctuary and there are other elephants males and females there. I guess its up to him - I hope he can get comfort from his own kind at last http://wildlifesos.org/

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