Elephant Sunder on his way to Bangalore rehabilitation centre

Officials managed to put Sunder inside the truck and set off to the Bannerghatta zoo around 9 am.

Written by Anjali Lukose | Mumbai | Updated: June 5, 2014 11:56 am

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Days after the Supreme Court upheld the Bombay High Court order, elephant Sunder is finally on his way to freedom having boarded the truck to a rescue and rehabilitation centre at Bangalore under mild sedation on Thursday morning.

The Supreme Court had on May 29 upheld the Bombay High Court’s judgment ordering Sunder’s release by June 15. Peta India had since 2012 alleged that Sunder was ill-treated by his mahouts and was not given proper care at his tethering place at Warnanagar near Kolhapur.

In an operation that began around 6.30 am, forest officials from the Kolhapur division and veterinarians called in specially for the operation from Kerala first tried to lure the elephant inside the truck. But the absence of his mahout made it difficult to control the elephant, forcing the vets to tranquilise the pachyderm, said forest officials.

Officials managed to put Sunder inside the truck and set off to the Bannerghatta zoo around 9am. Two vets, their assistants as well as officials from the Kolhapur forest division will accompany the elephant to the centre, around 600 kilometres away. This would be the longest distance an untrained elephant will be travelling during a transfer, said M K Rao, chief conservator of forests, Kolhapur division.

To help Sunder get into the truck, officials had dug a ditch just outside his tethering place and lowered the back end of the special truck to allow the pachyderm to climb on to it through a special downward-sloping ramp. Since June 1, forest officials have been trying to entice Sunder into climbing on to the truck by placing bananas, jackfruits, pineapples, sugarcanes and some jaggery inside. After the first two unsuccessful days, officials allowed Sunder to rest and on Thursday attempted to get Sunder to board the truck.

The elephant was first gifted by MLA Vinay Kore to Kolhapur’s Jyotiba Temple trustees for use during their religious functions, but after such allegations surfaced, the elephant was shifted to Warnanagar.

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  1. T
    Truly
    Jun 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm
    So glad for Sunder, please take care of him.
    Reply
    1. N
      Nancy Tuliszewski
      Jun 5, 2014 at 5:06 pm
      I am thrilled to death for SUNDER ! A big THANKS goes out to all involved in his release from his life of abuse. 3
      Reply
      1. M
        Mark
        Jun 6, 2014 at 1:58 am
        I'm thankful Sunder has now gotten into the truck. What I don't understand is that the High Court authorized Sunder release to a Sanctuary called Wild life rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. ( WRRC). The Sanctuary has even posted it on their website and the work they are doing to receive Sunder. Now the truck is going to a Zoo? zoo's aren't sanctuaries. Instead they are confined to small spaces told what to do when to do, and have people gawk at them all day. How is that Freedom? It's leaving an abused situation and now going into a Jail cell. That is very dissapointing. The only good part hopefully is that Sunder will not be abused any longer and hopefully not at the zoo either for not doing what they want him to do.God Bless Sunder may he still look forward to a happier ending and get to a Sanctuary .
        Reply
        1. A
          AMY
          Jun 5, 2014 at 4:02 pm
          THANK YOU PETA OF INDIA FOR YOUR HELP THANK GOD SUNDER IS GOING TO A BETTER PLACE GOOD LUCK SWEET HEART IN YOUR NEW LIFE
          Reply
          1. A
            Amy Ariffin
            Jun 5, 2014 at 10:09 pm
            I just worry he's going to get his hands on another elephant.
            Reply
            1. E
              Elizabeth Rickman/CritterVoice
              Jun 8, 2014 at 10:07 am
              Any news on Sunder ?
              Reply
              1. S
                Sniffy
                Jun 6, 2014 at 4:41 am
                While I'm so excited Sunder is out of the hands of those terrible human beings who abused him, your article is incorrect. He is not going to a zoo. He is going to a sanctuary.
                Reply
                1. B
                  BK native
                  Jun 5, 2014 at 12:03 pm
                  this is the BEST news to wake up to!!! I am very happy for him!
                  Reply
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