Elephant cried when it was saved in Indian city: Animal rights group

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:29 PM ET

An elephant saved from an abusive life of begging on an Indian city street cried when it was rescued after 50 years, an animal rights group says.

Wildlife SOS said Raju had been begging for money in Allahabad, India, for 50 years. Its handlers did not feed the elephant properly, and the group alleges Raju was forced to eat plastic just to fill its stomach.

Raju was rescued July 2, and Wildlife SOS U.S. executive director Nikki Sharp told QMI Agency the elephant cried.

"It was a very striking moment," she said. "It conveys so much of what was happening at the time."

Veterinarians removed spikes from the elephant's legs and treated infected wounds at the Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura. On July 4, the elephant took its first walk without chains, and on Tuesday shared a meal with another elephant at the centre.

The group says it will cost about $18,000 to care for Raju.


Raju the elephant as seen when he was begging for money on the streets of Allahabad, India. The elephant was saved from an abusive life with the help of Wildlife SOS. (Photo: Wildlife SOS/Handout/QMI Agency)

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