Elephant unchained after nine years in TN

'Mariappan', kept with all his four legs chained at the famous Mariamman temple at Samayapuram near Tiruchirappalli since 2002, was being brought to the Arignar Anna Zoological Park at suburban Vandalur where he can finally walk around freely, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said today.

The shackles were on Friday. Tamil Nadu Government in 2008 had ordered rehabilitation of four elephants, kept chained at temples, in appropriate rescue centres where they can move about, stretch and exercise.

"The living conditions under which Mariappan was kept were unsuitable for any living being...Daily walking and mental stimulation are essential to an elephant's mental and physical health," PETA India's Manilal Valliyate said.

Thanking the Forest Department, he expressed hope that the three other elephants -- at Sugavaneswarar Temple in Salem, Alagar Kovil in Madurai and Suchindram Temple in Kanyakumari -- would also be rehabilitated.

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