Raju is an elephant who was captured as a young baby. It’s believed his mother was killed, usually poachers slaughter the mother and then herds are driven into traps that are small enough for the babies to fall into. The mother elephants will cry for their babies for days, even weeks after they are stolen. The calves are then put into small cages, starved, and then beaten with sharp hooks. This goes on for a week or longer until the baby elephant’s will is broken. This domestication process called phajaan or elephant crushing. Throughout his life, Raju was sold over and over again. His rescuers believe he has had up to 27 owners. In July 2013, Raju was found in horrible condition. He didn’t have shelter at night and was being used to beg for money from tourists. He wasn’t fed properly and began eating plastic and paper. His nails were overgrown and had abscesses and wounds from the shackles around his ankles. Almost a year to the day of them finding out about Raju, a team of 10 vets and wildlife experts from a London based charity [Wildlife SOS](http://www.wildlifesos.org/), 20 forestry department personnel, and 6 policemen came to seize Raju from the Uttar Pradesh area of India. The rescue was an emotional one. His owner did not want to see him freed and began shouting commands to the elephant to frighten him and he put more chains around him to prevent the team from taking him. But the rescuers stood their ground, and as they did, tears began to roll down Raju’s face. Tears of joy!
Wildlife SOS has launched a campaign to raise money to help Raju begin the start of his new life in a new enclosure which will allow him to roam with his adoptive family. If you would like to donate, go to [Wildlife SOS](https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1432730).