PETA launches online campaign to rescue Sunder the elephant

Tuesday, 7 January 2014 - 9:33am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has launched an online campaign to rescue elephant Sunder, an abused animal which is kept at the Jyotiba temple in Kolhapur. The campaign on social networking site Twitter goes by the hashtag #FreeSunder.

PETA has also moved a petition in the Bombay High court through its attorney Dr Manilal Valliyate.

During the last hearing, the state forest department had informed the court that it could not relocate the elephant as it was in a musth condition (a period in male elephants, characterised by highly aggressive behavior).

PETA’s online campaign has already garnered support from animal lovers and activists from around the world. Several tweets and messages are being posted online to help the animal.

Bollywood celebrities like Celina Jaitly, Jacqueline Fernandes, Beatles singer Paul McCartney and Hollywood actress Pamela Anderson have joined the campaign. The main objective of the petition is to urge officials to immediately transfer Sunder to a sanctuary in Bangalore.

Dr Valliyate said “More than 69,400 people have signed PETA India’s online petition to the Maharashtra government calling for Sunder’s release. The petition sends emails direct from those who sign it to Veerappa Moily, minister of state (independent charge), Ministry of Environment and Forests, Dr Patangrao Shripatrao Kadam, Ministry of Forests, Rehabilitation and Relief Works, Pravin Pardeshi, principal secretary, Revenue and Forests Department (Forests) and Sarjan Bhagat, principal chief conservator of forests (Wildlife), Maharashtra.Through this online petition, we have been helping compassionate people around the world learn about the cruelty meted out to Sunder.”

In July 2012, the plight of the young elephant — which was gifted to the temple by a local MLA — came to the notice of PETA. In an inspection carried out by veterinary officers, the elephant was found to be underweight. Moreover, he had scars all over his body and a hole in his ear for the use of a metal ankus (a hooked stick used for goading elephants) that indicated regular abuse inflicted on him by his mahout.

Following the inspection, in August 2012, the forest department issued an order to the principal chief conservator of forests, Nagpur, to relocate Sunder to a sanctuary in Karnataka, of which the expenses would be borne by PETA.

Abused & ailing
In July 2012, the plight of the young elephant — which was gifted to the temple by a local MLA — came to the notice of PETA. In an inspection carried out by veterinary officers, the elephant was found to be underweight. Moreover, he had scars all over his body and a hole in his ear for the use of a metal ankus (a hooked stick used for goading elephants) that indicated regular abuse inflicted on him by his mahout

Stars join cause
PETA’s campaign on social networking site Twitter goes by the hashtag #FreeSunder. Bollywood celebrities like Celina Jaitly, Jacqueline Fernandes, Beatles singer Paul McCartney and Hollywood actress Pamela Anderson have joined the campaign. The main objective of the petition is to urge officials to immediately transfer Sunder to a sanctuary in Bangalore.


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