Bon Voyage, Sunder!

Posted by on June 5, 2014 | Permalink

We are overjoyed to report that Sunder is FINALLY on his way to safety!

Sunder freedom copy

Thousands of concerned people have been following this young elephant’s story with bated breath. Sunder endured years of abuse at the Indian temple where he was kept prisoner, and the epic campaign to rescue him has spanned more than two years.

Now, thanks to the determined efforts of PETA India, supported by PETA UK and actions from compassionate supporters around the world, Sunder has at last left his captors behind and is on the truck that will take him to freedom!

Here’s how this epic story has unfolded over the past few months.

7 April: The Bombay High Court ruled in favour of PETA India and upheld the order to move Sunder to a sanctuary.

20 May: Shocking photos and video footage of injuries to Sunder’s leg were released following a veterinary inspection, showing how the elephant is still being mistreated by his captors and needs to be rescued from their clutches as a matter of urgency.

29 May: Sunder’s case was heard in the Supreme Court of India, which passed a judgment in favour of PETA India by ordering that Sunder should be released to an elephant-care centre in Bangalore by no later than 15 June.

4 June: Efforts began to move Sunder. His abusers tried to hinder the transfer, and a large crowd gathered, shouting and blowing whistles to frighten the elephant. The tyres of the truck brought to transport him were punctured with nails, and PETA India representatives were barred from the site.


5 June: Kindness prevails! A team of experts was able to place Sunder on a truck, and begin to drive him slowly and carefully to his new home in Bangalore. Even now, a motorcycle gang is following the truck, despite police protection.

Sunder truck 2

6 June: After a 24 hour journey, Sunder arrived at his new home – a 49.5-hectare forested elephant-care centre at Bannerghatta Biological Park. As you can see, he seems delighted with his new surroundings!

Sunder in new home

After he has adjusted to his new situation and his serious leg wounds, caused by long-term painfully tight chaining, have healed, he will be able to roam the grounds freely, bathe in ponds, play and socialise with the 13 other elephants in the park.

26 June: Sunder has started to settle into his new home, exploring and making friends with other elephants for the first time. The massive wound on his leg is starting to heal, and he’s showing other positive signs of recovery.

Thank you to everyone who helped bring about Sunder’s rescue. Watch this space for further updates on how he’s getting on.