70-Year-Old Elephant Who Spent Her Life in Chains as Tourist Attractions Is Finally Free

The Wildlife SOS Elephant hospital, where Gajraj is being treated, is the first of its kind in India

Photo: Courtesy Wildlife SOS

Gajraj is finally getting to enjoy retirement.

The 70-year-old elephant was the first patient at Wildlife SOS‘ recently opened elephant hospital — India’s first elephant hospital and one of few in the world.

Here, the hospital’s dedicated staff worked to help erase the trauma from Gajraj’s 50 years as a tourist attraction. Before being rescued and brought to the hospital, the senior elephant spent a good part of her life in chains at a temple, where guests paid to ride on her back. Working in these conditions caused Gajraj to develop wounds and abscesses on her feet from standing for hours in one place and from walking on hard pavement.

Courtesy Wildlife SOS

Those painful memories are a thing of the past. At Wildlife SOS’ elephant hospital, not only did Gajraj get the care she needed, she also got the freedom she deserved.

The hospital is able to provide top-of-the-line care for Gajraj and others like her at its 10,000-sq.-ft. facility, which is equipped with India’s only elephant ambulance, 24-hour inpatient care and diagnostics, CAT scan machines, laser treatments equipment, and blood and chemistry analyzers.

Courtesy Wildlife SOS

This dedication to treating and caring for the world’s elephants aligns with Wildlife SOS’ overall mission: ending the tourism practice of riding elephants in India and protecting all of the country’s animals.

Courtesy Wildlife SOS

Along with building India’s first elephant hospital, Wildlife SOS works to achieve this goal through its 10 wildlife sanctuaries and centers throughout India, an anti-poaching wildlife crime enforcement unit and one of the world’s busiest 24-hour wildlife hotlines.

Wildlife SOS hopes Gajraj is the first of many elephants still stuck in India’s tourism trade that will be rescued, brought to the hospital for treatment and then moved to a sanctuary for a freer, happier life.

Related Articles