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An Indian elephant who spent 50 years in chains was finally freed and his reaction was to cry tears of joy.
New York Daily News reported that in an effort to save him, both veterinarians and wildlife experts worked together in order to put together an operation to take place during the night. The team from the Wildlife SOS-UK, which is in Britain, also worked with both cops and Forestry Commission officers in order to free the elephant named Raju.
They said as they took the chains off of him, Raju was crying as he seemed to realize freedom was near.
Pooja Binepal with the Wildlife SOS-UK said, “Raju was in chains 24 hours a day, an act of intolerable cruelty. The team were astounded to see tears roll down his face during the rescue.”
A court order had been given for the animal’s release after the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department found out about his living conditions. He is believed to have had 27 owners who beat him regularly and used him to beg for food.
E! Online reports the elephant was freed on July 4, America’s Independence Day.
The rescuers believe Raju was likely stolen from his mother while he was young and they said there were spikes on the chains that were wrapped around his leg, which would cut into his legs.
He is now at the Wildlife SOS charity’s Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura. Their website hopes to raise money in order to cover the funds that will help to give Raju a new enclosure with his new family.