Tortured in M'rashtra temple, elephant finds refuge in BBP

Tortured in M'rashtra temple, elephant finds refuge in BBP

Banne­rghatta Biological Park (BBP) has a new inmate, a 14-year-old elephant, Sundar, who was tortured for years by his previous owners at a temple in Maharashtra.

The animal, loaded onto a truck, travelled 680 km from Kolhapur to Bangalore and reached Bannerghatta on Friday morning.

Sundar grabbed attention when a video of him being tortured by the mahout and others went viral and became a reason for People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to spearhead a campaign and file a petition in the Bombay High Court to free the animal.

The Supreme Court upheld the Bombay High Court’s judgement ordering Sundar’s release by June 15.

Dr Manilal Vaniyatte, PETA, told Deccan Herald that Sundar had led a tortured life and bringing him to Bannerghatta in a truck was a challenging job. He said Sundar had refused to board the truck and had to be given hours of break before being transported.

Range Gowda, Executive Director (ED), BBP, said that with the help of a few elephants at the Park, Sundar was brought down from the truck and was now housed in one of the confinements inside the elephant enclosure.  “Unlike the other 14 elephants, which are normally let out into the forest in the evening and brought back in the morning, Sundar will stay at the Park for the time being,” he added.

The ED said Sundar had injuries on his legs with puss accumulation and one of his legs had a severe wound caused by continuous chaining. Sundar was not used to the food (ragi and horse gram) given to the elephants at the Park and it was given rice balls, coconut, jaggery and grass for now.

He said he was concerned about finding a new mahout for Sundar as the previous one who had tortured him had absconded.

“Teaching the animal in a new language will be a challenge, as Sundar was given instruction probably in Marathi. We will have to find a new mahout for him and also teach and instruct him in Kannada,” the ED added.

The campaign by PETA was endorsed by actors Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and international celebrities, including Sir Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson.

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