Paul McCartney headed a campaign to rescue an elephant from a temple in India after a trip there in 2012.
He saw 14-year-old Sunder being obviously mistreated at Jyotiba temple and, with the help of Maharashtra State’s forest department and India’s Project Elephant, arranged his transport to a sanctuary.
It would have been really nice for Sunder who already suffered from numerous scars, an eye injury and a hole in his ear, if all had gone as planned. But it didn’t.
Investigation by an animal rights group in February yielded video of Sunder being treated worse than before. He had apparently simply been moved to a chicken shack with no bedding and insufficient shelter to keep out the harsh sun during the day and the cold night wind. He was also shackled so tightly that he couldn’t lay down, according to Yahoo.
A following investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals provided video to back up those claims. They also gathered photos and video showing the still-young elephant in a malnourished state, being beaten and severely mistreated by his handler.
The video shows Sunder “writhing in pain and struggling to stand as the mahout (handler) strikes him repeatedly,” said PETA director of veterinary affairs, Dr. Manilal Valliyate. “Sunder visibly recoils in fear from the weapon-wielding mahout, who continues to threaten him with violence after he has stood.”
You can see PETA’s video here, but please be aware, it’s hard to watch:
In August, he made an angry escape attempt including pulling down a heavy pillar to which he was tied with strong ropes and ransacking local retail shops, according to PETA’s website. They say it was a desperate flight to try to gain his freedom to enjoy what is remaining of his life.
Hopefully India, a country ironically noted for holding the elephant as sacred, will be spurred to do more to see that this poor elephant is put somewhere safe and far away from the handlers and temples which have treated him so cruelly.
Image Via PETA