Victory: Gajraj, the 63-year-old Elephant, is Rescued After 50 Years of Chains and Neglect

For Immediate Release:
15 June 2017

Olivia Jordan +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 229; [email protected]


Elephant Will Finally Be Granted Freedom Following Campaign by PETA India

London – After more than 50 years of being chained near popular tourist spots in India, Gajraj the elephant has finally been rescued. The appalling treatment of the elderly, ailing elephant sparked a global #FreeGajraj campaign, leading more than 200,000 supporters of PETA India and its affiliates to call for his release.

 Gajraj – who is thought to have been taken from the wild as a 12-year-old – is now on his way to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre, a collaborative project of Wildlife SOS and the Uttar Pradesh Forest and Wildlife Department, where he’ll receive vital veterinary treatment and enjoy the crucial company of fellow elephants after a lonely life. PETA India is covering costs related to his new home and care, bringing him relief from years of apparently receiving little or no veterinary treatment, which resulted in untreated prolonged abscesses as well as painful foot conditions. Videos from a recent PETA India eyewitness investigation showed him swaying back and forth and bobbing his head – signs of severe stress-induced behaviour.

“After Gajraj endured half a century of suffering, we can celebrate now that he’s on his way to safety,” says PETA Director Elisa Allen. “He has known only misery and neglect for decades. But now, because of the actions of PETA India and so many compassionate supporters around the world, he’ll be able to roam, bathe in ponds, and be in the company of other elephants.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – notes that elephants in the wild live in matriarchal herds and are active for 18 hours per day, foraging for fresh vegetation, playing, bathing in rivers and travelling as far as 30 miles. Elephants in captivity are denied the opportunity to roam vast distances and often suffer from foot problems and arthritis because of long periods spent standing on hard surfaces. They can develop neurotic and self-harming forms of behaviour, and many die prematurely.

A photo of Gajraj before is available here and photos of the rescue are available here and here. More photos are available upon request. For more information, please visit