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.
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    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
                  1. C
                    Carida Ortiz
                    Jun 5, 2014 at 12:11 pm
                    A ing zoo? He needs to go to a sanctuary? ?!!
                    Reply
                    1. R
                      Rubyblue212
                      Jun 5, 2014 at 10:49 am
                      I am shaking with relief that this poor creature doesn't have to suffer anymore at the hands of ic men.
                      Reply
                      1. R
                        Rubyblue212
                        Jun 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm
                        Thank you. People don't realize that that this sick SOB will only go on to abuse and torture more animals. Not total justice yet.
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                        1. R
                          Rubyblue212
                          Jun 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm
                          You are absolutely right about Kore. Saving the animal is not the end of the story. They should not let Vinay Kore get away with this. He will only go on to abuse another animal. He is a ic monster and needs to be stopped.
                          Reply
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                            Patricia O'donnell
                            Jun 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm
                            The good news has brought me to tears. Praying he is going to be safe now.
                            Reply
                            1. N
                              Nikki Elliott
                              Jun 5, 2014 at 2:38 pm
                              Brilliant news!
                              Reply
                              1. d
                                dhk12300
                                Jun 5, 2014 at 4:32 pm
                                Thank God this has finally happened. This is the news we have all dreamed of seeing for so very long. Elephants should be free in a herd in a forest. NOT CHAINED TO A WALL. Thank everyone involved ... Peta India. Their attorneys who fought in court for over 2 years to see this day happen. The ladies of the Free Sunder site - Karen, By, Tanya, and Sujata. All the people on the Free Sunder site who unrelentingly sent emails and tweets day and night til the world took notice. The Peta vet Dr. Villiyate who healed the horrible cut on Sunder's leg. Naresh Kadian, his family and the Indian People for Animals. All animal rights groups involved. Celebrities who stood up for Sunder. India government officials who helped make this move a reality. And everyone else who helped free one elephant from a life of abuse. People from all over the world cared. This has touched us all. Well done everyone !!! :)
                                Reply
                                1. E
                                  Elise Allen
                                  Jun 5, 2014 at 3:50 pm
                                  At long last, freedom from such an abusive past...Sunder the "poster child" for so many abused temple elephants that also need our voice for protection and freedom from fear pain and suffering.
                                  Reply
                                  1. S
                                    Sex Kitten
                                    Jun 6, 2014 at 8:47 pm
                                    WE LOVE YOU SUNDER! ENJOY YOUR NEW LIFE! Please remember to write! You will live in our hearts forever and will never forget the way you've touched our hearts
                                    Reply
                                    1. G
                                      Girish
                                      Jun 5, 2014 at 8:24 am
                                      if it has a mahout, it is a trained elephant, and not untrained as mentioned.
                                      Reply
                                      1. P
                                        Priya Davda
                                        Jun 5, 2014 at 8:40 am
                                        Yeesss!!!! Freee!!! May you finally feel love and get the care and company you deserve sweet baby
                                        Reply
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                                          Robina Jamieson
                                          Jun 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm
                                          Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to OIPA, Peta India, all advocates, supporters and fans of Sunder. Well done everyone! Prayers for a smooth and safe journey for him and all members of the convoy to BBP.
                                          Reply
                                          1. J
                                            Jewels Slab
                                            Jun 5, 2014 at 11:28 pm
                                            I was in tears I am so happy he's finally going to his new home. I have been so worried about him and when I thought of him I would get so sad. I was ready to hop a plane and go over there and taser anyone who tried to hurt him.
                                            Reply
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