When Mohan the elephant was a baby, he was stolen from the wild and separated from his family and herd in the 1960s. Like the majority of captive elephants, Mohan was sadly tied up and beaten to make him more easily trainable.
When he wasn’t chained up, he was a slave to humans.
“He spent the majority of his time in the villages near Lucknow, where he walked the streets begging for money or begging outside temples or hired out to be used for wedding ceremonies,” Wildlife SOS wrote. “The severe scars and puncture wounds on his body and his emaciated condition confirm the extensive torture and neglect he has endured over the years.”
Wildlife SOS, a wildlife rehab organization in India, first heard about Mohan when they were rescuing another elephant named Raju. Mohan and Raju spent years of their lives chained up next to each other at an elephant camp. Mohan wasn’t given any food, so starvation led him to eating plastic.
Ever since Raju’s rescue in 2014, Wildlife SOS has been working hard to free Mohan. But it has been anything but easy. His initial rescue and transport to Wildlife SOS’ Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura had to be postponed due to violent local mobs who wanted to keep Mohan tied up; then there were more than 20 delays in court proceedings. He was nicknamed the “unluckiest elephant in the world,” and sat and waited under the custody of the forestry department.
Because his health was quickly deteriorating, the court finally decided to give permission to have Mohan transferred to Wildlife SOS’s care center, where he will receive proper medical treatment, and more importantly, never have to be chained up ever again.
At the care center, Mohan get fed plenty of fruits and vegetables to help him gain back weight. His road to recovery is long, as he is fighting off a stomach worm and liver issues, but his future his much brighter now.
In addition to a healthy diet, Mohan also gets pampered with walks, treats and baths.
“His freedom has been a long time coming, and we are so grateful to everyone who stood strong through this long and often disheartening and dangerous fight for his freedom,” Geeta Seshamani, cofounder of Wildlife SOS, said in the press release.
“This day really validates all the hard work that went in to his rescue, and we hope it sets a much-needed precedent for other captive elephants in India that animal abuse will not be tolerated,” Seshamani said.
Watch more of Mohan’s story below:
Watch the video below of Mohan’s first freedom walk at his new forever home: