Four elephants were rescued from Rambo Circus in Pune, Maharashtra, following a two day and a night long rescue operation by teams of Wildlife SOS in coordination with Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Police and Forest Department.
The four elephants will be shifted to the Wildlife SOS Elephant Care Center where they would receive veterinary care, healthy diet, companionship and a healthy future. The Wildlife SOS convoy transporting the four elephants will briefly break journey.
The four elephant includes Pearl and Ruby share a close relationship and were brought to the circus around the same time. Goldie the oldest and Sylvie, the youngest of the four. Sylvie is Goldie’s daughter.
“It was shocking to witness the inhumane conditions that the elephants were kept in, shackled by spiked chains and denied any chance at a natural life. The elephants in this circus were a priority as they were in terrible distress” said Geeta Seshamani co-founder Wildlife SOS.
Rhea Lopez, Elephant Campaign Manager – Wildlife SOS told Policy Pulse, “An evaluation of the Rambo circus had revealed horrifying details about the poor welfare and conditions in which the animals lived and were forced to work illegally.”
“While in the circus, the elephants were restrained by both front and back legs even they weren’t performing, and were given no opportunity to exercise and no access to healthy food and water which is mandatory under the law. The mental and physical health status of these elephants is very poor,” she added.
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS said, "Wildlife SOS will not only rehabilitate the elephants but also their handlers. We have offered employment to the mahouts and elephants handlers from the Circus to ensure they are not deprived of their livelihoods. We will train them to handle elephants with kindness and compassion."
The rescues are part of Wildlife SOS Circus Elephant Campaign to rehabilitate circus elephants across India. When the campaign began in 2015, there were 67 elephants in Indian circuses. With today’s rescue of four elephants, that number is down to 55 elephants.