Update : Following extensive public pressure and an order from the MoEF (Gov of India), Dr Patangrao Kadam, the Maharashtra forest minister has ordered the release of Sunder. While the necessary orders have been passed to release Sunder, the procedure and logistics for his actual release will take 2-4 weeks. We need to keep the pressure on till Sunder is sent to a sanctuary.
Sunder, a young elephant at the Jyotiba temple in Maharashtra is kept under horrible conditions. He is confined to chains with sharp spikes and kept alone inside a dark shed, where he can barely move. Sunder is denied all that is natural and important to him and lives in fear.
Sunder has sustained serious injuries around his eyes because of prodding using the ‘ankus’ a restraining device. When he is rarely taken outside, he is tied to a spiked chain. Keeping Sunder in these conditions might lead severe psychological distress, cause leg injuries, foot ailments and arthritis.
The elephant may also prove to be dangerous to people around the temple when he experiences condition called 'musth'. Musth is a periodic condition in bull elephants, characterized by highly aggressive behavior, accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones – testosterone levels in an elephant in musth can be as much as 60 times greater than in the same elephant at other times. During this period, elephants need specialized care from trained vets and this is not available for Sunder
Elephants are very sensitive animals, conscious of environmental changes and happenings all-around. Harsh restraint methods and training procedures adversely affects its self respect and honour that may lead to undesired consequences.
The officials concerned are trying to slide the issue under the carpet. There is still no clarity if the elephant was procured legally or not. There is still no caretaker to take proper care of the animal and the local politicians are trying to pressurize the officials to give a clean chit to the temple management.
Join me in telling Dr. Patangrao Shripatrao Kadam, the Minster of Forest, to immediately free Sunder and rehabilitate him and follow the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), notification for rehabilitation of captive and chained elephants.