For 44 years, Priyanka was forced to spend her days giving people rides through the streets of India.
Priyanka gave rides to adults and children, and she was also rented out to parades where she was forced to walk for hours on end. The poor elephant had spent her whole life in captivity, and she’d never gotten to interact with other elephants or feel grass under her feet.
When animal rescue group Wildlife SOS heard about Priyanka’s story, they knew they wanted to save her. They wanted the elderly elephant to spend her remaining years in a sanctuary where she could relax and follow her natural instincts.
Wildlife SOS followed Priyanka’s movements for a year, looking for the perfect time to rescue her from the owner who was keeping her illegally.
Wildlife SOS and the local police department worked together, waiting for the opportunity to rescue Priyanka. If Priyanka’s owner learned about the rescue operation, Wildlife SOS knew he would take Priyanka and run. They had one chance to get this right.
When the right opportunity to rescue Priyanka came along, Wildlife SOS wasted no time. They wrote:
“We immediately mobilized a rescue team to assist the local Forest Department in the area to conduct a daring seizure operation along with the local police department….Despite the initial success of getting her to the Forest Department, things were still dangerous as her owner showed up and tried to pull every string he could to have the elephant returned to him – despite not even being able to produce any valid ownership documents for her!”
Because Priyanka’s owner fought them, it took a few days for Wildlife SOS to get all the paperwork together. But finally, everything was approved, and Priyanka was officially free!
When Priyanka arrived at Wildlife SOS’s sanctuary, she took her first steps as a free elephant. Wildlife SOS filmed the incredible moment and shared it to their Facebook page.
BREAKING NEWS!!Guess who's taking her first steps of freedom at the #WildlifeSOS' #ElephantConservationandCareCenter ? PRIYANKA IS FINALLY HOME! It's been almost a year since we shared Priyanka's plight with all of you & we are emotional as we share this great news about her long-awaited rescue! We were unable to disclose detailed information about our rescue strategy before or talk about her, so as to avoid jeopardizing her rescue mission.We would like to take this moment to thank all our supporters for making this rescue possible!Please consider making a generous donation to support a healthy future for Priyanka: http://bit.ly/2sWMnV7
Posted by Wildlife S.O.S on Thursday, November 23, 2017
After she stepped out of the truck, Priyanka ran across the sanctuary’s open field. Then, once she tired herself out, she relaxed and enjoyed a bale of sugar cane.
Priyanka was finally safe, but now, Wildlife SOS needed to address Priyanka’s many health issues. She had fractures in both her feet and fungal infections in her ears and trunk. She was also starting to go blind. Wildlife SOS’s veterinarians are hard at work taking care of Priyanka. They’re making sure she gets all the care she needs.
Once Priyanka was settled into the sanctuary, Wildlife SOS began introducing her to some of the other elephants.
They decided to begin with Laxmi, a sweet, gentle female elephant. Wildlife SOS carefully monitored Laxmi and Priyanka’s interactions, and they were ready to intervene if the elephants didn’t get along. But it turned out, they didn’t have to worry. Priyanka and Laxmi loved each other immediately!
When it comes to rehabilitating captive elephants, we at #WildlifeSOS believe it is essential not just to focus on the physiological but also the psychological recovery as well and socializing with their own kind plays a very significant role in this process. After decades of suffering alone, we are helping Priyanka bond with other rescued elephants at the #ElephantConservationandCareCenter and we made an attempt to help her befriend our lovely dumpling, Laxmi! Since the team was concerned about their reactions to each other, the interaction between Priyanka and Laxmi was conducted with safety precautions & closely monitored. We just couldn't wait to share with all our supporters this priceless moment of Priyanka's first interaction, which has been made possible because of your kind support! However, we are still looking for 65 more people to make a $10 monthly pledge to help cover her medical and general care. Would you like to pledge your support towards her recovery? http://bit.ly/2sWMnV7
Posted by Wildlife S.O.S on Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Priyanka has now been at the sanctuary for about eight months, and she’s as happy as can be.
Priyanka loves her freedom, and she loves getting to spend time with her fellow elephants. We’re so happy this gentle elephant has found such a wonderful place to spend her golden years!
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Source: Wildlife SOS