Sunder not ready to board truck, given rest for three days

Fruits and jaggery have failed to lure the elephant so far, vets and forest officials to resume exercise after three days

Written by Anjali Lukose | Mumbai | Updated: June 4, 2014 8:41 am
sundar-main Sunder plays with mahout Hyder on Tuesday. (Express photo by Deepak Joshi)

After spending two days trying to unsuccessfully lure Sunder, a wounded elephant, into a specialised truck to take him to the rehabilitation centre in Bangalore, the Kolhapur forest division has decided to let the reluctant animal rest for two to three days before the next attempt.

To help Sunder get into the truck, officials have dug a ditch and lowered the back end of the vehicle to allow the pachyderm to climb on to it through a special downward-sloping ramp. For the last two days, veterinary experts from Kerala as well as forest officials have been trying to entice Sunder into climbing on to the truck by placing bananas, jackfruits, pineapples, sugarcanes and some jaggery inside.

On one occasion, Sunder outwitted the officials by moving all the hay used to camouflage the metallic ramp. Feeling the hot metal underneath, it retreated from the ramp. On Monday evening, sudden rain and lightning and the resultant power-cut made the officials abort the mission.

“The elephant is not ready to board the truck and we cannot force it. We just have to be patient,” said Vijay Shelke, Deputy Conservator of Forests.

The veterinarians and experts from Kerala, who were especially invited to accompany Sunder from Kolhapur to Bangalore, however, beg to differ. They opine that Sunder should be chemically immobilised before trying to get him into the truck, a practice they claim is common while dealing with elephants.

“We are against sedating the animal after our research revealed that sometimes animals not sedated properly tend to get aggressive and hurt themselves or others around. If something happens to Sunder, who will be responsible,” asked Dipak Jadhav, a local animal lover.

The large crowd and the vocal opposition from local animal lovers, mahout and onlookers to using sedative have put the forest department on the back foot.
Despite the vets’ strong recommendation to use mild sedation, the forest department has not even sought permission from the chief wildlife warden to use this method.

“We want to follow the protocol for elephant transfers that mentions the animal should be habitualised to the vehicle and not rushed into it. Right now, Sunder is scared of the sound of the truck and is not accepting the barricades. We cannot be sure that sedation won’t cause him shock or affect him adversely. We want to use a safe method versus a hasty, risky method,” said M K Rao, Chief Conservator of Forests, Kolhapur. “We have mentioned that the vets are suggesting sedating the animal in our report to the principal chief conservator of forests at Nagpur.”

The vets, in their official report, also stressed on the need to allow only government officials, the elephant squad and the mahout (if he is cooperating with the team members) to be present at the site as the large and heckling crowd was inhibiting operations.

The mahout, Hyder Mahat (22), said he was doing his best to encourage the elephant to enter the truck, but has suggested that the animal itself could sense something is amiss and does not want to leave.

The forest officials are rushing against time as the Supreme Court had on May 29 upheld the Bombay High Court’s judgment ordering Sunder’s release by June 15. They have to factor in the approaching monsoon too.
anjali.lukose@expressindia.com

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  1. J
    Jody Stickney
    Jun 4, 2014 at 4:13 pm
    Sunder plays with mahout Hyder on Tuesday. (Express photo by Deepak Joshi)Fully restrained and biting the wall. Playing?
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      Rubyblue212
      Jun 5, 2014 at 10:25 am
      Hyder Mahat is the one who has been beating and torturing this poor creature. They are crazy to let him get in 2 feet of Sunder. Mahat is a ic man and is only acting out the part for attention. These so-called officials are stalling. They should let the vets do what they have EXPERIENCE in and get that animal away from that horrible place.
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        Denise
        Jun 6, 2014 at 8:24 pm
        In first paragraph, "decided to let the 'RELUCTANT ANIMAL'" rest for two to three days before next attempt. Hmmmmm........let's examine this -- There are MANY REASONS FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL ANIMAL TO BE RELUCTANT!!!!!!! You people have ed with this amazing elephant's mind, it's no wonder why he cannot trust ANYONE! (((((Sunder))))), this amazing & beautiful elephant, YOU have continually tortured AND beaten him --- YOU continue to keep him CHAINED & TIED.I wonder is Sunder will ever TRULY believe he is free??? I continue praying to GOD that you release him - the sooner the better!As for "the mahout" - Hyder Mahat --- ARE YOU REALLY DOING YOUR BEST TO ENCOURAGE (((((Sunder))))) TO ENTER THE TRUCK???? Your suggestion that "the animal itself could sense something is amiss and does not want to leave." ARE YOU LYING, mahout HYDER??????Seems to me that you've enjo torturing this beautiful animal all along -- YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY HAVE (((((Sunder's))))) BEST INTEREST AT HEART!!!!And, the caption under (((((Sunder's))))) picture is laughable- "Sunder plays with mahout Hyder on Tuesday".IS (((((Sunder))))) REALLY PLAYING?????? Let's be real. To me, he looks ED OFF, ANGRY & FRUSTRATED (it's no wonder why!!!), who would most likely want to stomp all over you - and, WHO COULD BLAME HIM? Not me, and not the millions of people who are watching this unfold.YOU MUST COMPLY WITH THE HIGH COURT'S JUDGEMENT ORDERING (((((SUNDER'S))))) RELEASE BY JUNE 15TH!!! The crowd MUST CLEAR, whistles & people MUST BE SILENCED to make this poor stressed out animal calm down.As for the crowds of people who are not helping this situation, please DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO -- THEY MUST BE DETAINED!The w world IS WATCHING ALL OF YOU and we ARE NOT IMPRESSED. YOU WILL ALL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.Do the right thing and release (((((Sunder))))) - NOW, before it's too late!
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          Eli
          Jun 4, 2014 at 8:30 pm
          Shame on you for writing and publishing a fraudulent article. The world is watching those who continue to inflict harm on Sunder and impede his transfer. Those responsible of such actions are making a mockery of India's Laws and the Supreme Court's Order and should be punished to the highest degree allowable.Much strength to Sunder and those who have his best interest at heart. Praying that the Supreme Court's Order is implemented immediately.
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            Priya Davda
            Jun 4, 2014 at 10:25 am
            As if the demon abuser haydr was trying to encourage Sunder to board the truck, there's video evidence of him pulling Sunder, pulling his ear and shouting at him!. This guy is seriously mentally ill
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              Maria Gaasbeek-Gijsberts
              Jun 4, 2014 at 7:29 pm
              To many people around him,shouting.They are not helping Sunder.He is confused and afraid.
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                Jo
                Jun 4, 2014 at 5:40 am
                From what I've heard Hayder and the heckling crowd have only hindered Sunders move! Sunder is afraid of Hayder, so remove him and the crowd......! And the new mahouts ned to get firm with Hayder...... Remember he is the cause of Sunders misery.....
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                  Ann Inquirer
                  Jun 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm
                  Much is not true. Those are not animal lovers, they are hired to disrupt the move. Hayder Mahat is not playing with Sunder, he is backing him up, confusing Sunder as to which way he should go. Mahat should not even be there as he is being charged with Sunder's horrific abuse. The PCCF is once again doing Kore's dirty work by allowing all those people there instead of just the vets themselves. India you embarr yourself to not even follow a court order! The world is watching (as it is with India's rapes) and says, "Shame!"
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                    KAREN
                    Jun 4, 2014 at 7:37 pm
                    PCCF is deliberately hindering the relocation process of Sunder. Go to Peta India and find out the truth. The torture of Sunder continues even during attempts being made to move him to freedom. This is shameful! The world is watching...all around the world...the world is watching and we will not go away until the Supreme Courts order is complied with !!! That needs to happen today.
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                      chris ewing
                      Jun 5, 2014 at 1:51 am
                      remove hayder and sunder will board that truck. he is forcing sunder to be confused. why is the Abuser there???? get the police there to keep hayder and kore away, after sunder is on truck. ARREST the abusers!! they are the ones who will NOT allow sunder to board, report this properly please
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                        monimoni
                        Jun 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm
                        Sunder does not appear to be playing like it says in the caption of the photo. Praying that he is released and sent to rescue as soon as possible!!
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                          Patricia McMorrow
                          Jun 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm
                          This article is full of inaccurate information. The problem is that Sunder is not calm due to the large, noisy crowd, piercing sound of whistles, and his abuser pulling his ears and yelling at him. This animal has been in an isolated situation for a long time, repeatedly abused by his handler. What needs to happen for Sunder's move to be a success, as ordered by the Supreme Court, is that the crowd needs to be disd, the whistles put away, and Hyder driven away! The veterinary experts from Kerala can handle this move the best. They are trained in this procedure and have Sunder's best interests as heart, unlike Hyder the abuser! The world is not fooled by these claims of concern on the part of the Forestry Department nor Hyder. You are acting in direct violation of a court order!
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                            radeth
                            Jun 4, 2014 at 7:28 am
                            Hyder Mahat is a ic bully who has spent most of his time hitting Sunder with an iron bar, taunting him, kicking him and treating him like dirt. Small wonder Sunder won't trust him enough to board the truck. And Vinay Kore, reputedly the man behind the ownership of Sunder, is a coward who will not come forward in the face of multi-national disgust at his apathy towards another creatures torment. Both of these men - and the Indian judicial system - are a shame to their great nation, they should hang their heads in disgrace. This is just another in a long line of unbelievably cruel, inhumane stories of why India is still a third world country at heart.
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                              Cat
                              Jun 4, 2014 at 9:22 pm
                              #FreeSunder The mahout is not playing with Sunder. He along with the forestry dept is disrupting and inhibiting Sunder's transfer. The world is watching this blatant attempt to stop Sunder's transfer and is not impressed. Unless the high court order is followed the world will hold these people and ALL who have failed Sunder in contempt. You are bringing shame on your country
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                                Cat
                                Jun 4, 2014 at 9:38 pm
                                Why are you not printing my comments? Is the truth about the mahout and the forest dept blatantly disrupting the transfer of Sunder not allowed? Shame on you ALL #FreeSunder
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                                  Sarah Levitin
                                  Jun 4, 2014 at 3:58 pm
                                  He's NOT playing!! s:www.facebook/event...
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                                    Sarah Levitin
                                    Jun 4, 2014 at 4:04 pm
                                    Oh and I HIGHLY suggest you approve my comment because it is YOUR paper that is now LYING to EVERYONE and your news article is all over FACEBOOK so the WORLD knows exactly what you've been trying to shovel to everyone! So, are you just as corrupt? On the take? Against animals being chain free and living in a compionate environment. Not reporting the TRUTH is being JUST AS GUILTY as the Kore and Hyder who have BEATEN and TORTURED this elephant. You and the Forestry Department are accomplices!!
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                                      Sarah Levitin
                                      Jun 4, 2014 at 3:56 pm
                                      This article is a LIE!!!! Learn the truth!!! Read Facebook Free Sunder page! s:www.facebook/event...The Forestry Department is in DIRECT VIOLATION of the Supreme Court order in Sunder's move, release, and Court recommendations/procedures for Sunder's relocation.The mahout, Hyder is the ABUSIVE, INHUMANE,CRUEL handler that's been chaining. beating and mentally abusive and ic to Sunder. He is PURPOSELY holding his ropes tugging on them to prevent Sunder from boarding the truck...he resorted to pushing Sunder back and also saying terrible "trigger words" to Sunder that instill Sunder's FEAR!! This elephant is traumatized and wounded!!WHY DOES KORE want this ONE poor elephant THIS BADLY that he has violated the Court 2 years ago and continues to fight the ruling about this one creature? It's DISGUSTING and the PRESS in India is NOT reporting the TRUTH which is also an embarrment to the country and as the WORLD KNOWS the real truth through PETAIndia and OIPA!! We are ALL watching! I suggest strongly you REVISE your article and report the TRUTH of what has been taking place with Sunder.Such rampant CORRUPTION is evidenced by the Foresty Department and V. Kore!
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                                        s k
                                        Jun 4, 2014 at 8:55 pm
                                        you are absolutely right. i am not sure why the Indian express is giving false information. The w operation is being hampered by this abusive mahout (hayder) who is giving him conflicting signal and pushing him away from the truck and the so called "local animal lovers" who are pulling at his chains when the other mahouts are trying to help him get in and screaming and shouting, creating a very stressful environment for the poor elephant.
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                                          suebee
                                          Jun 4, 2014 at 6:26 pm
                                          How can he play when he is chained down? He can't even move! I hope they get him moved very soon.
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                                            Free Sunder
                                            Jun 5, 2014 at 2:03 am
                                            Another excuse day after day. Always something to stop Sunder from being free. Now the Mahout says he has patience and doesn't want to push the Elephant. Yet he had no patience for years while he beat Sunder repeatedly. I can't believe this kid ( not a real man)is still standing. Poor Sunder, and now the Monsoon season is approaching, well rain or shine SUNDER needs to be moved. I Hope the crowd dis's and people stop shouting and blowing whistles to frighten him, and that they get him into the truck in the next try. I will be praying for him to succeed.
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