It is an integral part of Buddhist thinking that whenever possible animals should be treated with deep respect. And so it has come as a shock to Buddhists to have learned of an elephant who was recently released from abusive captivity after 50 long years in India where His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been living in exile for decades. Raju the abused elephant cried as he was freed from 50 years of cruelty reported Grind TV on July 8, 2014.
Raju has been delivered to freedom to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre at Mathura, India. Hiding in the darkness a team from London-based Wildlife S.O.S transported Raju 350 miles to an elephant sanctuary where he enjoyed walking freely for the first time in 50 years. Raju held his head high with pride during his first walk as a free elephant in decades.
It is believed that Raju was poached from his mother when he was just a baby. Raju was regularly beaten and left bleeding in pain in leg shackles by his abusive owner. Raju's owner forced him to beg for handouts and often fed him plastic and paper. Hair was also torn from Raju's tail and sold for good luck charms.
For 50 years Raju was terribly abused, held shackled in heavy spiked chains and forced to feed off of junk from passing tourists reports The Huffington Post. The life of Raju was dramatically changed overnight after he was rescued last weekend by wildlife conservationists who said he really cried when he was set free. Wildlife SOS, the group which saved Raju, was established in 1995 to protect endangered wildlife in India. Buddhists worldwide are sharing tears of joy with Raju over his rescue today. His old sadistic owner is the one who does not deserve to be free.