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Elephants are, by nature, highly social and intelligent beings. In the wild, they live in close-knit matriarchal herds, headed by the oldest female, and comprised of her daughters and their calves. Adult males live in separate “bachelor” groups. They have repeatedly shown themselves to be extremely sensitive to their environment and capable of deep emotion – they mourn when a loved one dies and know how to distinguish between humans who wish to harm them and humans who are safe.

In Africa, elephants are tragically threatened by extinction because of the illegal ivory trade. It is estimated that one African elephant loses their life to a poacher every fifteen minutes and 35,000 total are killed every year.

Asian elephants, meanwhile, suffer rampant abuse in Thailand’s elephant tourism industry. Torn from their mothers at an early age, forced to endure training processes that break their spirits and render them docile, and repeatedly injured with nails or other sharp devices if they fail to perform a trick to their handlers’ satisfaction, elephants who are trapped in these situations  suffer a life that is nothing short of miserable.

This single heartbreaking photo depicts exactly what life for captive baby elephants is like.

This Single Photo Exposes the Full Horror and Tragedy Behind Elephant Captivity

 

 

The chain around this one-year-old baby’s foot immediately marks him out as a captive elephant. However, it is the expression of obvious despair in his eyes that stands out as the photograph’s dominant feature. For any animal lover viewing this picture, it is impossible not to empathize with the beautiful elephant, and wish to do whatever we can to help him.

His name is Raja, and his story was truly tragic. He was torn away from his mother when he was only a few months old and was chained to a tree in a Sumatran village. Villagers claimed that their crops were damaged by his family, and unbelievably decided to hold him prisoner in retaliation. In spite of concerted efforts by animal rights advocates to have him freed, Raja soon died under these deplorable conditions.

Elephants DC said, “We know there was an advocacy group trying to help, but Raja was too malnourished and broken hearted … it was little, too late. We will nerve forget.”

While nothing can now be done for this beautiful baby, Elephants DC and other groups are determined to fight for the freedom of all other captive elephants.

For more information on the cruel elephant captivity industry, and how you can avoid supporting it, read up on some of the posts below:

Image source: Elephants DC/Facebook



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565 comments on “This Single Photo Reveals the Tragic Fate of Captive Elephants”

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Renee Allman
3 Months Ago

Yes we sure do. We have done so much damage to all living creatures on this earth. Time to fix the damage and it starts right here with me and you.


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Felicity Burch
3 Months Ago


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Jenaro Diaz-Ducca
3 Months Ago

This is Capitalism: everyone is just somebody's property or profit.


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Edna Lagrosas
3 Months Ago

Mercy on this tied up young elephant! 0 Proverbs 12:10 A RIGHTEOUS man regarded the life of his beast, but the tender mercies of the WICKED are cruel.


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Jeri Cain Rossi
3 Months Ago

Makes me sick. And helpless.


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Marie Davidson
3 Months Ago

Yes we do fight for there freedom


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Rowland Hill
3 Months Ago

Sooo many cruel humans !!!


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Charles Webster
3 Months Ago

dystopia for all - ...wage slavery...debt peonage...we and this tragic little elephant...truly one of us !


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Kat Beaulieu
3 Months Ago


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Chantal Burnett
3 Months Ago

This is barbaric, this tiny baby should be with its mother.


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