Heartbreaking Pics Show Sunder Is Still Suffering While He Waits to Be Moved

Posted by on May 21, 2014 | Permalink

UPDATE: Sunder’s case was heard in the Supreme Court of India on 29 May. The court 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. Read more here, and watch this space for further updates!


Last month, PETA India won a court case to get abused elephant Sunder released to a sanctuary. Now, while Sunder waits to be transferred from the temple where he has endured years of beatings and abuse to a sanctuary, as the court had ordered, it has emerged that he’s suffering from heartbreaking injuries.

During a recent veterinary inspection by an elephant expert, the 14-year-old elephant was found with what the health examination report calls a “MASSIVE wound … as a result of constant tying with heavy chains”. The expert’s report also states that Sunder should be moved from Kolhapur to an elephant-care centre in Bangalore “on an emergency basis”, as directed by the Bombay High Court. The court had ordered the Maharashtra Forest Department to move Sunder to the centre before the start of the monsoon.

But Maharashtra Member of the Legislative Assembly Vinay Kore – who is not the legal owner of Sunder and has kept him on his property illegally – has attempted to block the order by filing an appeal with the Supreme Court.

PETA and its international affiliates have been campaigning for Sunder’s release since 2012. PETA India has been represented before the Supreme Court by leading animal advocate Raj Panjwani.

The finding comes on the heels of video footage from December 2013 showing that Sunder’s mahout beat him with a pole on Kore’s property.

All the paperwork for Sunder’s transfer has been completed, and now the Maharashtra Forest Department simply needs to set a date for the move. The health examination report also stated that Sunder’s wound can be dressed, he is not in musth (a period of sexual urge in elephants that can make them difficult to handle) and he can and should be transported to Bangalore quickly.

Please help ensure that justice is done and that Sunder gains his freedom as soon as possible. As these photos show, every day that he remains at the temple, he is still in pain.

You can write to Maharashtra forest officials at:

  • The Honourable MK Rao
    Chief Conservator of Forests
    Office of the Chief Conservator of Forests (Territorial) Kolhapur
    Van Vardhan Bldg
    Opposite Principal Post Office
    Ambedkar Chowk, Tarabai Chowk
    Kolhapur 416 003
    [email protected]
  • The Honourable Suresh A Thorat
    Additional Principal Chief Conservator Forests (Wildlife West)
    LT Road
    Near Old MHB Bus Stop, Forest Quarter
    Borivali (W) 400 091
    [email protected]
  • The Honourable Sarjan Bhagat, IFS
    Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife)
    Van Bhavan
    Ramgiri Road
    Civil Lines
    Nagpur 440 001
    [email protected]