To say that Mohan the elephant has had a rough life would be an understatement. This sweet elephant, like so many others, was stolen from the wild as a young calf. As if being torn away from his herd and family wasn’t bad enough, Mohan has lived out a life of exploitation for the last 50 years. First, he was tied up and beaten into submission until he started obeying his “masters” and then once his spirit was broken, he was forced to go to local villages in his vicinity, where he spent his days as a “begging elephant.” This meant that he had to walk the streets begging for money, do the same at temples, or stand for hours as a silly selfie prop at wedding ceremonies. A life like this is hardly a life for an elephant, or any animal.

Thankfully, the rescue organization Wildlife SOS has kept a close eye on Mohan and has worked tirelessly to arrange for his release. Sadly, setting the path for Mohan’s freedom has been riddled with obstacles. In 2015, the group came close but was met by a mob of over 300 people who prevented them from successfully saving the elephant. This event clearly shook up Mohan’s owner who was actually in possession of the elephant illegally, so he decided to file for custody. This marked the beginning of a lengthy legal battle in which all cases had to be settled before Wildlife SOS could do anything to help this sweet creature.


Eventually, Mohan was transferred into the care of the Forest Department of Pratapgarh. Mohan wasn’t in good shape, though, a medical exam revealed that the elephant was severely emaciated. 

His dung had also revealed a severe worm infestation. Sadly, Mohan had spent much of his time in captivity standing in his own feces. 

Medical practitioners also found wounds and punctures on his body and ears revealing that he was regularly beaten with sharp objects. His wincing face is a clear indication as to how miserable captivity can make an animal. 

Well, after over two years of work, we have great news, Green Monsters – Mohan is finally free! He will now spend his days at the Elephant Care Center in Mathura run by Wildlife SOS. 

This is only the beginning on the road to recovery, but Mohan will finally get the care that he needs, the love he deserves, and the life he was robbed of. Yay Mohan!

Watch the story unfold here. 



Mohan’s road to freedom has been disheartening, dangerous, and a long-time coming, but we are incredibly happy that it has finally arrived! It is upsetting to know that there are millions of other elephants who are poached from the wild every year (approximately 100 a day), many for the sake of entertainment similar to this poor elephant, but Mohan’s story proves that with hard work and persistence, it is possible to achieve freedom for these sweet animals.

“This day really validates all the hard work that went in to his rescue, and we hope it sets a much-needed precedent for other captive elephants in India that animal abuse will not be tolerated,” shared Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder of Wildlife SOS. We totally agree – animal abuse is unacceptable and rescue organizations like Wildlife SOS will not give up on their mission to free all captive elephants. We can’t wait for that day to come. Until then, we celebrate for Mohan and his sweet, sweet freedom!


To learn more about this awesome organization, click here.

All image source: Wildlife SOS