If you have seen an elephant in the wild, you already know how majestic they are. They move their massive body weight like a dancer. A really large, gray dancer. And yet, despite their beauty, despite their clearly demonstrated intelligence (they speak to each other in a low, rumbling dialect and receive the messages via the vibrations they pick up with their toes!), elephants remain on the endangered species list and the ivory trade is still thriving. It is estimated that there are around 35,000 Indian elephants left in the wild today. However, there are thousands of Indian elephants that have been bred in captivity or kidnapped and subjected to an incredibly inhumane and painful training process before they are forced into a life of servitude.
Elephants in captivity are worked to death. They are pushed until, slowly, their body gives out and they are discarded as useless and unprofitable. Don’t get too depressed, organizations like Wildlife SOS, an animals rights and rescue group based out of India, are working tirelessly to put an end to these cruel practices and save as many elephants as they can. Recently they rescued Asha and here is her story.
Meet Asha, she is 46 years old. Her entire life up to this point was spent in captivity.
She began giving rides up and down steep hills to tourists in Jaipur. The strenuous labor and poor treatment resulted in several serious injuries. Since she was no longer fit for the work, she was sold and became a begging elephant.
When Wildlife SOS got to her, she was in bad shape. “She has painful abscesses on both the hips which are caused by lying on hard surfaces continuously. On examination of ears, piercing holes were noticed on the ear folds, also below the temporal lobe, indicating the cruel and painful methods of training and handling.”
After a lot of hard work from the doctors at the Elephant Care Center Mathura, and a lot of generous donations, Asha boarded a truck and headed to her new home.
And now she is very happy in her new home!
Though Asha would be much happier running free in the wild, because she has spent so many years in captivity and needs special treatment, she will live out her days in the comfort of her fellow rescued elephants and lovely caretakers. While her tale is heartwarming, Asha is the exception to the rule. Elephant abuse is still very prevalent all around the world. So let’s get involved! If you would like to support elephants like Asha, visit Wildlife SOS and donate to help them save more abused pachyderms.
All image source: Wildlife SOS