Remember the story of Raju the elephant? If you don’t, here’s a quick refresher: after spending 50 years in captivity, abused by his mahouts and used as a begging prop on the streets, Raju was liberated from his living hell by the amazing organization Wildlife SOS.
Raju’s story is enough to break the heart of any breathing human, but thankfully, his is not a story without a happy ending. Relocated to the Wildlife SOS sanctuary, Raju is able to finally taste the freedom he was deprived of for many, many years. At the sanctuary Raju is learning to trust humans, how to enjoy and savor jackfruit, and most importantly: how to interact with other elephants.
Elephants typically live in a very tight-knit herd and share deep emotional lives with one another. Taken from the wild as an infant, Raju has never known this sort of companionship. But just because he has never knew love and happiness in his prior life, does not mean he hasn’t taken to this new lifestyle rather quickly (just see how adorable his interactions with the other elephants at the sanctuary are here).
Elephants are rather smart you know, and learning to have a good time has been no challenge for Raju.
Just check him out lounging in his bath tub…
It’s been a long time since he’s been able to soak in a bath, so he is clearly set on getting nice and prune-y!
As a street elephant, Raju was fed mostly scraps and even resorted to eating paper and plastic at times.
At the Wildlife SOS sanctuary he gets lots of greens and fruit–look he’s even willing to share!
Taking care of an elephant is no simple task, and Wildlife SOS is in need of donations to help them keep Raju in truckloads of bananas and jackfruit.
Wildlife SOS is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the cost of caring for elephants, you can help them reach their goal by making a donation of any amount, here. If you ask me there is no dollar amount that could measure up to seeing this happy elephant smile!
All image source: Wildlife SOS/Tumblr