An Indian elephant who was blinded in both of her eyes, kept in spiked chains, covered in wounds and forced to beg by her owners, has been rescued by a wildlife sanctuary.
Officials finally intervened after discovering that Lakhi the elephant was being exploited as a performer and was forced to wear spiked shackles around her feet to prevent her from escaping.
The 60-year-old elephant had regularly been mistreated, beaten and whipped while being paraded around Indian towns and temples, “begging” money for her owners. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Lakhi was blinded and forced to beg by her owners in India, who put spiked chains round her feet. She was rescued (above) by Wildlife SOS earlier this week.
2. The beautiful 60-year-old ellie was forced to cross dangerous roads by her owners, despite being blind. One of her eyes, which is severely damaged, is pictured above.
A court order granted a team of vets from Wildlife SOS permission to rescue Lakhi and the elephant was finally given the freedom she deserves.
Lakhi will now begin a 900 ml journey to Wildlife SOS‘s sanctuary in Mathura, north India.
On the way, the elephant will be getting fresh fruit and buckets of water to keep her hydrated.
3. After being checked over by vets Lakhi starts a 900 ml journey to the sanctuary’s center in Mathura, north India.
Wildlife SOS posted an update on their Facebook page:
It’s a long journey to get there, but it’s nothing compared to the hardships Lakhi has already faced.
She is pretty smart. She picked up the smell of the bananas in the caretakerΓÇÖs pocket and reached out with the help of her trunk to grab them as he closed his eyes for a little nap on the truck.
Please consider donating to help make her future so beautiful that she almost forgets her past.
4. Wildlife SOS wrote on their Facebook page: ‘She is pretty smart. She picked up the smell of the bananas in the caretaker’s pocket and reached out with the help of her trunk to grab them as he closed his eyes for a little nap on the truck’.
When Lakhi was first seen by a Wildlife SOS member, she had injuries all over her chest, forehead, ears and back. The elephant also had damage to her feet and toenails from being forced to walk on tarmac and a large lump on her head.
Wildlife SOS co-founder Geeta Seshamani said that authorities had to be stricter about keeping elephants. She said:
Seeing the plight of the captive elephants that we have rescued, perhaps there is a need for stricter guidelines and enforcement of guidelines or some form of checking on the welfare of elephants held in private ownership.
5. Vets and rescuers hand branches and food up to the caretaker at the top of the truck, who is in charge of feeding Lakhi.
Satyajit Gujar, deputy conservator of forests in Pune, said:
We are extremely delighted to see that Lakhi will have a better and healthier life after a lifetime of abuse.
Yaduraj Khadpekar, a senior vet at Wildlife SOS, explained that the mistreatment has condemned Lakhi to severe foot disorders for the rest of her life.
Wildlife SOS has also asked ophthalmologists from the U.K. to examine the possibility of restoring vision in at least one of the elephant’s eyes.
Experts believe that there are around 20,000 Indian elephants left in the world.
6. Wildlife SOS was all over the news in July of last year when the organization rescued Raju the elephant after 50 Years of being held in spiked shackles and beaten (story here).
7. Lakhi’s spiked shackles would have been similar to the ones Raju was forced to wear.
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