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55-year-old Mohan spent almost his entire life in chains. He was a calf when he was snatched from his herd, beaten into submission and then sold off to various owners. His luck has finally changed.
In perhaps the longest ever rescue operation lasting over 20 hours at the Pratapgarh district, members of the forest department, an NGO Widllife SOS and the Uttar Pradesh police managed to free the elephant from his mahout – ironically named “Ghulam” or slave.
It took 50 police officers to control the crowd – among them those who tried their best to stop the rescue – and help forest officials to finally free the elephant. The police have also arrested the mahout. He faces up to seven years in jail.
Mohan was emaciated, starving and severely wounded, a medical team of three veterinarians assessed after his rescue. Injuries on his body and ears confirmed that he was poked and beaten mercilessly with sharp objects. Mohan also had foot injuries that could lead to permanent joint disorders if not treated immediately.
He was labelled the “unluckiest” elephant as many past attempts to rescue him had failed. His mahout had once managed to give the forest department the slip. It took the officials almost a year to track him down to Pratapgarh. Even then the case dragged in court, despite petitions by more than two lakh people worldwide. A lawyers’ strike delayed Mohan’s rescue even more.
Finally a district court, convinced that his handler did not have the ownership papers, asked the forest department to rescue him within three days. “The elephant Mohan was transferred to custody of forest department of Pratapgarh where he will be provided medical care for the time being” said Deputy Forest Officer YP Shukla.
“We hope that this breakthrough in attaining Mohan’s long overdue freedom sets a precedent of action against illegal ownership of elephants across India ” said Kartik Satyanarayan , co-founder of Wildlife SOS.
The court will decide where Mohan will be sent next. If his luck holds out, then he could end up at a special elephant conservation and care centre in Mathura for long term treatment.
Photo footage: credit of Wildlife SOS
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To learn more about Wildlife SOS and the amazing work they do, click here : http://wildlifesos.org/
More about Mohan the Elephant:
All around the world, people know the story of Raju, the courageous elephant who stole our hearts when he wept during his rescue. However, what most people don’t know is on that hot night in July, 2014, there were supposed to be two elephants freed. Yes, two! Planning had started weeks before to rescue two elephants simultaneously, Raju and Mohan. Both elephants had suffered ceaselessly for over a century in combined years. And for a few of those years, they languished side by side, only a trunk’s length away from one another. Mohan is approximately 55 to 56 years old, about three to five years older than Raju. Both Raju and Mohan spent several weeks tied next to each other in chains as young calves who were put on display for sale at the Sonepur Mela (a cattle fair at which elephants are often sold illegally), before they were purchased by members of the same family. Both Raju and Mohan were then subjected to abuse and beatings during their training process. For years, they would be worked from morning to evening, sometimes together and sometimes separately, but they would be chained beside each other at night. Eventually Raju’s owner moved him to Allahabad and Mohan’s owner moved him to Pratapgarh, separating the two bull elephants…
Click link to learn more about Mohan in “The untold part of the Raju story” : http://wildlifesos.org/blog/the-untol…
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