Posted 05/12/2013 Caught on Video: Elephant Sunder Beaten
An undercover investigation conducted by PETA this week has resulted in shocking footage of a mahout (handler) violently beating Sunder, a 14-year-old elephant at the centre of a PETA petition in the High Court of Bombay, with a thick wooden pole. The video reveals a malnourished-looking Sunder, chained by two legs, writhing in pain and struggling to stand as the mahout strikes him repeatedly with the pole. Sunder visibly recoils in fear from the weapon-wielding mahout, who continues to threaten him with violence after he has stood.
Sunder was chained and abused for six years at the Jyotiba Temple in Kolhapur, and following orders by the Maharashtra Forest Departmentand Project Elephant, which operates under the central Ministry of Environment and Forests, to retire Sunder to a sanctuary, Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Vinay Kore, who had given the elephant as a “gift” to the temple, sent him to be chained in an old, dark poultry shed in Warananagar instead.
The former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and current Head of Forest Force, SWH Naqvi, has also failed to implement the state and central government orders. Just this week, Kore was reported to have claimed to the media that Sunder is fine and healthy, while Vijay Shelke, Deputy Conservator of Territorial Forests – Kolhapur division, said that “every month a veterinary doctor visits the place to check the elephant” and that “we also guide the mahout and local caretakers”. These claims are in spite of the fact that Sunder’s legs show scarring from abuse, he has a low weight, and he is being forced to stand on concrete all day with no opportunity for exercise, which is essential for elephants’ health.
“He is fearful of the mahout”, says international elephant expert Dr Mel Richardson, who examined PETA India‘s video of Sunder. “From what I can see his legs and feet are in bad shape. He is in a dangerous situation and needs relief – no chains, natural substrate, and space to exercise.”
You can help Sunder:- Take action to urge authorities to free Sunder to a sanctuary today.
Posted 05/12/2013 PETA Goes to Court for Sunder
PETA India has filed a petition with the High Court of Bombay asking the Maharashtra Forest Department (MFD) to implement its previous order – as well as the recommendation from Project Elephant under the Ministry of Environment and Forests – and retire 14-year-old elephantSunder, who spent six years chained at the Jyotiba Temple in Kolhapur, to a sanctuary.
Following pressure from PETA, more than 26,000 people who have signed PETA India’s online petition and celebrities such as Pamela Anderson and Paul McCartney, who have written to authorities, the MFD ordered that Sunder be sent to a sanctuary. Instead, he was locked in an old, dark poultry shed and chained at the behest of Vinay Kore, a local member of the Legislative Assembly.
Sunder’s body shows visible signs of severe abuse. Photos from August 2013 show how Sunder is forced to stand on concrete all day and denied exercise, which is essential to his mental and physical well-being. In fact, his current living conditions are so poor that they could predispose him to foot and joint diseases, which could eventually kill him. He’s also small for an elephant of his age and underweight as a result of years of inadequate nutrition.
Please take action to help free Sunder NOW!
Posted 06/07/2013 Legal Notice Served to Free Sunder
In August 2012, the Maharashtra Forest Minister ordered SWH Naqvi, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) for wildlife, Maharashtra, to move Sunder, the 13-year-old elephant who has been kept chained inside a dark shed at Jyotiba Temple for six years, to a wildlife rehabilitation centre identified by PETA.
But the PCCF and temple authorities have not complied with this order or with the Central Zoo Authority’s recommendations for improving Sunder’s living conditions and have instead allowed Vinay Kore, a local member of the legislative assembly and the person who donated Sunder to the temple, to reportedly hide him in a dark, heavily guarded poultry shed near a dairy facility at Amrut Nagar (Warananagar), Kolhapur. In response, PETA India’s lawyer and India’s leading animal advocate, Raj Panjwani, has sent a legal notice to the PCCF, Jyotiba Temple authorities and Kore.
Sunder has been kept chained by temple authorities since 2007 and has scars covering his body, a severely injured eye that was likely caused by a beating and a hole in his ear that was caused by an ankus, an iron rod with a hook at the end. Constant physical and psychological abuse can cause captive Indian elephants to lash out, as Sunder did in August. He became violent and tore down a pillar as he tried to flee his handlers. He was subdued and returned to captivity.
The Forest Minister’s order came shortly after this incident as a result of a rigorous campaign led by PETA. Pamela Anderson and former Beatle Paul McCartney lent their support to the campaign by writing letters to government officials.
You can help Sunder. Take action now.