Help Sunder Escape Abuse and Gain His Freedom


For the last six years, Sunder, who is only 13 years old, has
been locked in chains at the Jyotiba Temple in the Kolhapur district of
Maharashtra. The young elephant is denied adequate water and food, and when he
is fed, he is usually given poor-quality raw rice in insufficient amounts. Sunder
is also sometimes given noxious and hazardous substances, such as tobacco, on the
whims of his mahout (handler). He is denied freedom of movement, and on the
rare occasion when he is taken outside, he is kept in spiked chains.

Because of the abusive treatment at the hands of his mahout,
Sunder has wounds all over his body. Recently, observers noticed a deep wound by
his right eye, which likely resulted from the mahout’s use of an ankus (a
sharp, metal-tipped weapon resembling a fireplace poker) to punish the elephant
by beating and poking him. Since Sunder was receiving no care for this wound,
PETA India arranged for veterinarians to treat the painful inflammation.

Sunder was donated to the temple
by Maharashtra Member of the Legislative Assembly Vinay Kore. Although
PETA India has approached temple officials to ask for relief for the young
elephant, nothing has been done, and Sunder is still suffering because of the
gross negligence of temple authorities.

Elephants are highly intelligent and social animals. In
nature, they spend around 18 hours a day walking, feeding, bathing in watering
holes, and interacting with other elephants, and females live in close-knit
family groups for life. Elephants held in captivity are separated from their
families as babies and are sentenced to a lifetime of confinement, boredom,
loneliness, and abuse. Constantly kept in chains, many exhibit signs of mental
illness, including repetitive swaying, rocking, and head-bobbing. The chains
also cause painful wounds and pressure sores, which often become infected. The
lack of exercise and the years spent standing on hard concrete amid their own
waste lead to painful and crippling foot ailments and arthritis.

Increasingly, concerned people are speaking out against the abuse
of elephants who are used in Indian temples to represent the Hindu god Ganesha.
Paul McCartney recently sent an urgent letter to Maharashtra Forest Minister Dr.
Patangrao Shripatrao Kadam urging him to use his authority immediately to
rescue Sunder, saying, “Years of his life have been ruined by keeping him
and abusing him in this way and enough is enough. I most respectfully call on
you to get Sunder out.”

You can help! Urge
the Maharashtra Forest Minister to use his authority to rescue Sunder and send
him to a sanctuary.


Dear [Decision Maker],

Sincerely yours,
[Your Name]

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Article source: PETA Action Alerts

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