"Unluckiest Elephant in the World" Is Finally Free
PRATAPGARH, UTTAR PRADESH:
55-year-old Mohan the elephant was abused, chained by his mahout
Police, NGO, forest officials rescued him from UP's Pratapgarh
Mohun was labelled "unluckiest" elephant as past rescue attempts failed
55-year-old Mohan spent almost his entire life in chains.
He was a calf when he was snatched from his herd, beaten into submission and then sold off to various owners. His luck has finally changed.
In perhaps the longest ever rescue operation lasting over 20 hours at the Pratapgarh district, members of the forest department, an NGO Widllife SOS and the Uttar Pradesh police managed to free the elephant from his mahout - ironically named "Ghulam" or slave.
It took 50 police officers to control the crowd - among them those who tried their best to stop the rescue - and help forest officials to finally free the elephant. The police have also arrested the mahout. He faces up to seven years in jail.
Mohun was emaciated, starving and severely wounded, a medical team of three veterinarians assessed after his rescue.
Injuries on his body and ears confirmed that he was poked and beaten mercilessly with sharp objects. Mohan also had foot injuries that could lead to permanent joint disorders if not treated immediately.
He was labelled the "unluckiest" elephant as many past attempts to rescue him had failed.
His mahout had once managed to give the forest department the slip. It took the officials almost a year to track him down to Pratapgarh.
Even then the case dragged in court, despite petitions by more than two lakh people worldwide. A lawyers' strike delayed Mohun's rescue even more.
Finally a district court, convinced that his handler did not have the ownership papers, asked the forest department to rescue him within three days.
"The elephant Mohan was transferred to custody of forest department of Pratapgarh where he will be provided medical care for the time being" said Deputy Forest Officer YP Shukla.
"We hope that this breakthrough in attaining Mohan's long overdue freedom sets a precedent of action against illegal ownership of elephants across India " said Kartik Satyanarayan , co-founder of Wildlife SOS.
The court will decide where Mohan will be sent next. If his luck holds out, then he could end up at a special elephant conservation and care centre in Mathura for long term treatment