It Is What It Is

Dr. Rex …. Blogging for change.

It Is What It Is

SUNDER …. his new home!!

~~June 6, 2014~~ 

We are beyond delighted to report that the much-abused young elephant Sunder has arrived at his new home, Bannerghatta Biological Park, where he is to reside by order of the Supreme Court of India.


Park officials have assured PETA that the entire 49.5-hectare forested area for elephants will be fenced in to allow the herd of 13 elephants – which Sunder will join once he has settled down and his serious leg wound caused by long-term painfully tight chaining has healed – to roam freely. Veterinary experts are working to address this wound.

Sunder has suffered greatly for years. He has been badly beaten and otherwise abused and so will need to be introduced gently to a different way of being handled, quarantined for health testing and loosely restrained as his injuries and health are assessed and as he comes to trust his new caretakers.

~~Here are some pictures of Sunder and of his new home~~

Sunder is already making himself at home at his new home

PETA continues to engage with elephant expert advisers in India and abroad in order to help with the transition. We have overcome immense hurdles – including unscrupulous behaviour, the deliberate dissemination of misinformation, attempts at religious blackmail, enormous pressure from sundry quarters, court battles and political corruption – during our efforts to rescue Sunder from the clutches of his physical abusers and mental tormentors.

We are ever so grateful to every single soul who found a way to help and who joined the #FreeSunder campaign, thereby becoming part of this joyful outcome. More than 220,000 people from around the world wrote to authorities seeking Sunder’s release through action alerts on PETA affiliates’ websites. Many celebrities – including Paul McCartneyAmitabh BachchanMadhuri DixitPamela AndersonArjun RampalR MadhavanGulshan Grover and others – took to Twitter or helped in other ways to keep the spotlight on this long campaign for Sunder’s release.

Other elephants at the park who will soon be Sunder’s friends.

Sunder’s soon-to-be new friends going to the lake.

Sunder's new home 2

At one point, Maharashtra Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued orders for Sunder’s release, but those orders were ignored. Senior Counsel Shiraz Rustomjee and Counsel Rohan Rajadhyaksha won for Sunder in the Bombay High Court. M/s K Ashar & Co Advocates & Solicitors were the advocates on record for PETA for the cases in the Bombay High Court and Supreme Court, and Senior Counsel Raj Panjwani won the case for Sunder in the Supreme Court.

We thank Suparna Ganguly of the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre for her support of the campaign and MP Maneka Gandhi, who helped us greatly by using her significant authority to end the stalling. We also thank Naresh Kadyan of OIPA for trying to bring Sunder’s abusers to justice.


We are also thankful to the Maharashtra Forest Department and numerous veterinary and other elephant experts for assisting with Sunder’s move to Bangalore, and to scientist Surendra Verma and animal behaviour consultant Margaret Whittaker for guiding us in other ways.

The elephant care centre at Bannerghatta Biological Park sits in a wonderful natural forest with ponds and streams and will serve as a safe refuge for Sunder. It also has the potential to develop into a world-class facility.





PETA Investigates Crimes Against Elephant Sunder

~~Published on Dec 5, 2013~~

~UPDATE 6 June 2014~




PETA India, based in Mumbai, was launched in January 2000. PETA India operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on or use for entertainment, while educating policymakers and the public about animal abuse and promoting an understanding of the right of all animals to be treated with respect.

PETA India focuses primarily on the areas in which the greatest numbers of animals suffer the most: in the food and leather industries, in laboratories and in the entertainment industry.

PETA India’s investigative work, public education efforts, research, animal rescues, legislative work, special events, celebrity involvement and national media coverage have resulted in countless improvements to the quality of life for animals and have saved countless animals’ lives.

We ALL are connected through NATURE!! 


We ALL are ONE!! 




The tale of “Sunder” …. an abused elephant!!


~~April 13, 2014~~


Thanks to all of YOUR help, court passes landmark decision to free Sunder from 6 long years of being chained and beaten.


Sunder is 14 years old, a young juvenile boy, and has spent the past six years chained inside a dismal shed at a temple in Kolhapur. His previous mahout (handler) grossly abused him, and Sunder bears the scars to prove it. He now has a new mahout, with whom the Animal Rahat vets have made it a top priority to try to develop a good rapport, but the mahout, believe it or not, is afraid of Sunder and has never taken him off the chains, not even for a walk.

The temple authorities resisted giving the Rahat team access to Sunder, but they were able to succeed through a combination of Dr. Sudheesh’s impressive military credentials and because one of Animal Rahat’s ambulance drivers is related to a priest in the temple.

It’s all about who you know!

After examining Sunder, Rahat’s vets determined that he was anemic and dehydrated and has proptosis (bulging) of one of his eyes, probably because of head trauma, most likely from being severely beaten for being mischievous as a youngster.

Thanks to the support of caring people like you, there is hope for the first time ever for Sunder, and time is of the essence.

If Animal Rahat does not get him proper care now, he will suffer unimaginably when he goes into musth (breeding rage). Vets have embarked on a solid plan to improve Sunder’s living conditions — the immediate priorities are to get him out of his dark and damp enclosure, establish a decent watering system, get the mahout to walk him daily, and improve the amount and quality of his food.

What Animal Rahat will ultimately try to do is get him away from there, but that mountain is a high one to climb.



MUMBAI: On Monday, April 2014, during a Bombay high court hearing, Peta’s lawyers Shiraz Rustomjee and Rohan Rajadhyaksha presented finding by elephant experts Dr. EK Easwaran, assistant director, department of animal husbandry, Kerala and Dr. Yaduraj Khadpekar, senior veterinary officer, Wildlife SOS-India who visited 14-year-old elephant Sunder on February 19 and argued that Sunder is being kept so harshly chained that he’s unable to lie down.

The findings showed that Sunder is displaying signs of severe frustration and mental distress through constant head wobbling, swaying and other abnormal repetitive movements. As per the report and evidence submitted to the court, Sunder was displaying aggressive behavior only towards his own mahout, Hyder, and no aggression towards other people during the inspection, indicating that Sunder feels threatened by his own mahout.

Sunder is at the center of a case in which PETA is calling for the animal’s release to a sanctuary. 


Member of legislative assembly Vinay Kore donated Sunder to Jyotiba temple in 2007, and the elephant has been kept chained since then.

In December 2013, PETA obtained video footage showing that Sunder’s mahout violently beat him with a pole near a poultry shed where he had been moved at the behest of Kore.

That same month, the high court of Bombay ordered Sunder’s transfer to a sanctuary, but he is yet to be released by principal chief conservator of forests Sarjan Bhagat. Kore and the Kolhapur division of the forest department claimed this is because Sunder is in musth (a period of heightened sexual urge, which can make captive bull elephants aggressive from frustration) and cannot be transported. 

However, the recent experts’ report clarified that Sunder is not showing signs of normal musth condition, but ‘moda’ (adolescent) musth, and pointed out that Sunder can be transported to a sanctuary and that he should be, to avoid further damage to his mental status. The report also confirmed that Sunder’s current housing facilities are grim and do not even meet the minimum basic standards. 


Sunder is denied everything that is natural and important to him and lives in fear.


Principal Chief Conservator of Forests SWH Naqvi has still not transferred Sunder, a 14-year-old elephant who had been chained for years at the Jyotiba Temple in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra, to the sanctuary in Karnataka that has been identified for him by PETA – despite Maharashtra Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam’s order calling for Sunder’s release. Naqvi has the responsibility to follow the Minister’s order but seems to lack the will to do so. It is thought that Sunder has been hidden by temple authorities in a dark, heavily guarded poultry shed behind a dairy facility.

Sunder has been denied freedom of movement, and on the rare occasions when he was taken for a short walk at the temple, he was kept in spiked chains. Because of the abusive treatment at the hands of his mahout, Sunder was found by PETA with wounds all over his body and a damaged eye.

Elephants are highly intelligent and social animals. In nature, they spend around 18 hours a day walking, feeding, bathing in watering holes and interacting with other elephants, and females live in close-knit family groups for life.

Elephants held in captivity are separated from their families as babies and are sentenced to a lifetime of confinement, boredom, loneliness and abuse.

Temple elephant Sunder chained up in his shed at Jyotiba temple in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.  Scars can be seen on the animal's legs, caused by the chains. Abuse of the elephant prompted Sir Paul McCartney to write to the Indian government demanding the animal be set free.

Constantly kept in chains, many exhibit signs of mental illness, including repetitive swaying, rocking and head-bobbing. The chains also cause painful wounds and pressure sores, which often become infected. The lack of exercise and the years spent standing on hard concrete amid their own waste lead to painful and crippling foot ailments and arthritis. The severe confinement has led Sunder to act out in frustration, creating a risk for temple authorities and visitors.

Please help PETA in urging authorities to immediately transfer Sunder to the sanctuary in Karnataka that has been identified for him by PETA.

~~Written by PETA~~

Renowned Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal has donated two billboards to PETA India calling for the release of an abused 14-year-old elephant named Sunder. PETA India is seeking Sunder’s rescue via a case in the High Court of Bombay.

One of the billboards has been placed in Nagpur, the site of the office of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Sarjan Bhagat, and the other in Kolhapur, where Member of the Legislative Assembly Vinay Kore is based.


Kore donated Sunder to the Jyotiba temple in 2007, and the elephant has been kept chained and inside dark sheds for most of that time. In December 2013, PETA obtained video footage showing that Sunder’s mahout violently beat him with a pole near a poultry shed where he had been moved at the behest of Kore.

 That same month, the High Court of Bombay ordered Sunder’s transfer to a sanctuary, but he has yet to be released by Bhagat. The actor has also offered to donate a life-size statue of an elephant to the Jyotiba temple in exchange for transferring Sunder to a sanctuary as identified by PETA. He added that the statue would allow devotees to “pay tribute to Lord Ganesha and honor all elephants, including Sunder“.


Joining Rampal in his call for Sunder’s release have been Amitabh BachchanMadhuri DixitR MadhavanRaveena Tandon and many other top celebrities as well as more than one lakh people, who have signed PETA India’s online petition.

You can help #Free Sunder. Take action today.



~~Bombay High Court orders Sunder’s release~~


~~Published on Apr 7, 2014~~

The Bombay High Court has ordered the release of Sunder the elephant into a sanctuary. 14-year-old Sunder who has been in captivity and was kept chained inside a dark shed at a Temple in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra for seven years will finally be free from the torture.

The Bombay High Court asks authorities to implement a state government order to release Sunder into the wild that was issued in August 2012.

We ALL are connected through NATURE!!


We ALL are ONE!! 


We ALL are connected through HUMANITY!!


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