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Sunder the tortured elephant final plea for sanctuary life hangs in question

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A 13-year-old elephant named Sunder has been isolated in India's Maharashtra district in the sacred Jyotiba Temple for the last seven years. Well over a year ago, the elephant who has been kept confined in chains had been moved to a "poultry shed" 30 miles from Jyotiba Temple in Warananagar.

In August 2012, Sunder was ordered to be moved to a sanctuary; the order has continued to be ignored.

According to PETA, (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), they approached the Bombay High Court in December seeking compliance with the previous orders, yet Sunder has not been sent to a sanctuary and has been reported to have lost the use of one eye (protopsis) which is believed to be the result of beatings. Blinding has been a widely used method to control elephants.

PETA has also moved a petition in the Bombay High court through its attorney Dr. Manilal Valliyate.

According to the Hindu.com on Dec.11, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) (wildlife) were ordered to comply with last year's order:

“We produced evidence before the court about the torture of Sundar. The forest department had passed an order last year directing the PCCF to immediately confiscate the animal and release him in a sanctuary. The Bombay High Court today [Tuesday] directed PCCF to comply with the order and submit a report to the court by December 23, when the matter will be heard next,” Manilal, Director of Veterinary affaris, PETA stated.

Tragically, an update from the Elephant League on Jan. 1, 2014 stated Sunder has not been released:

"A recent report about the Temple association Paschim Maharashtra Devsthan Samiti (PMDS) and their recent letter citing costs and decision to ‘transfer” ownership back to Vinay Kore is a furphy and delaying tactic. He is now subject to a High Court Order that he must be removed to the State Owned Elephant Centre (in Bangledore)."

During the last hearing, it was stated that Sunder could not be moved because of musth condition (a period in which elephants are very aggressive).

A Facebook page titled "Free Sunder Now" is a call to action, but humane advocates are cautioned to be respectful:

"Sustainable change is an excruciatingly slow process. We are strong. We will get there."

Please help to raise awareness for Sunder and all elephants around the world. Be the voice for those who cannot speak. Become involved in Sunder's cause.

A final hearing is scheduled for January 21. Advocates hope the original order will be enforced.

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