Sunder, a much-abused Indian elephant, has finally found his way to freedom. After India’s Supreme Court upheld the Indian Ministry of Environment & Forests’ order, the young elephant has been transferred to a long-awaited elephant rescue and rehabilitation center. Hooray!

It took days for Sunder to get into the truck that would bring him to his new home. He was lured with all types of treats: “bananas, jackfruits, pineapples, sugarcanes and some jaggery,” according to The Indian Express. He was not so easily tricked, however.

After two days of convincing, Sunder received a rest day. On the fourth day, he was tranquilized by attending veterinarians and was brought into the truck.

“This would be the longest distance an untrained elephant will be travelling during a transfer, said M K Rao, chief conservator of forests, Kolhapur division,” according to the Indian Express.

In 2007, the elephant suffered painful beatings and injuries after he arrived at Jyotiba temple, including instances of his handlers’ using spiked chains. Reports of animal cruelty prompted the Ministry of Environment & Forests to order Sunder’s owner to bring the elephant to a sanctuary.

Instead, the elephant was hidden in an old poultry shed and continued to suffer. We are so glad that Sunder is finally free! Just look how happy he looks in his new home.


Sunder’s plight has garnered the support of many, including celebrities Pamela Anderson and Paul McCartney, who have been a part of PETA’s long campaign for Sunder.

“Despite every obstacle thrown in his rescuers’ path, this abused young elephant is now on his way to safety,” said PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk in a press release. “Sunder has known only cruelty, misery, and neglect. We’re absolutely thrilled that Sunder will soon be able to roam, bathe in ponds, and enjoy the company of other elephants.”

Take a look at Sunder’s new digs and his soon-to-be best friends!


Lead image source: PETA