Meet Sunder, Animal Rahat’s New Elephant Patient

As you may know, Animal Rahat veterinarians have been treating two sorely neglected elephants: Ram Prasad, who belongs to some stubborn and insensitive temple trustees and is used for ceremonial purposes, and Gajraj, an older tusker. As of last month, thanks to the team’s diligence, they have now taken on a new elephant patient named Sunder, a very sad case indeed.

Sunder is 13 years old, a young juvenile boy, and has spent the past six years chained inside a dismal shed at a temple in Kolhapur. His previous mahout (handler) grossly abused him, and Sunder bears the scars to prove it. He now has a new mahout, with whom the Animal Rahat vets have made it a top priority to try to develop a good rapport, but the mahout, believe it or not, is afraid of Sunder and has never taken him off the chains, not even for a walk.

The temple authorities resisted giving the Rahat team access to Sunder, but they were able to succeed through a combination of Dr. Sudheesh’s impressive military credentials and because one of Animal Rahat’s ambulance drivers is related to a priest in the temple. It’s all who you know!

After examining Sunder, Rahat’s vets determined that he was anemic and dehydrated and has proptosis (bulging) of one of his eyes, probably because of head trauma, most likely from being severely beaten for being mischievous as a youngster. Thanks to the support of caring people like you, there is hope for the first time ever for Sunder, and time is of the essence. If Animal Rahat does not get him proper care now, he will suffer unimaginably when he goes into musth (breeding rage). Vets have embarked on a solid plan to improve Sunder’s living conditions—the immediate priorities are to get him out of his dark and damp enclosure, establish a decent watering system, get the mahout to walk him daily, and improve the amount and quality of his food. What Animal Rahat will ultimately try to do is get him away from there, but that mountain is a high one to climb.

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  • renu

    It was really disheartening to hear about sunder being kept captive ina dark room and chained all the time …… just cant imagine a life like that for anyone.. i really wish animal rahat succeeds in getting him away from the temple ..

  • lesley ish

    Is there anybody I can write to and perhaps get others people to write to to get this elephant freed.?

    Wh owns the elephant and who owns the temple – can we not put pressure on his owners to release him to an elephant reserve?

  • Liliana Cervini

    Please, help Sunder quickly, don’t wait anymore.

  • mary arthur

    Please love him and help him. None else has.

  • Nemisha

    Please post the latest updates regarding Sunder. How is he? Has he been rescued from his pathetic living conditions? How far along are Animal Rahat in their plan?

  • bibi skripec

    Why cant finally the human being understand that we cant treat animals like our slaves.
    Fur, met, entertainment. This is not right. Animals have feelings. Feel joy, pain and
    suffer like us. I cant understand this how the human being (not all) dont care about animals.
    They only care what is on there plate. This must stop but when….poor animals around the world…a child can speek…but an animal cant never complain….that is the difference. That is why it is important to support the animal organisations like PETA.

  • Sailaja

    Please keep us posted about Sunder’s condition. It’s really sad to know that such a miserable treatment was handed out to a noble animal like this.

  • Jacqueline Genova

    It is such a sad story and I hope that poor Sunder finds his way to the reserve and out of the cruel environment that he is experiencine.



  • J. Wolski

    Are tourists and visitors to the temple aware that SUNDER is being abused by the temple? If I knew that I would not want to go to that temple for any reason. Please keep exposing the temple and its systematic torture of SUNDER. If enough people find out than maybe it will decrease the temple’s financial bottom line…that seems to be the only way to secure SUNDER’S release from the TEMPLE OF TERROR. There is no excuse as there are people ready and willing to take him to a sanctuary. You cannot appeal to their moral code as they do not have one so appeal to their financial bottom line.

  • Martina

    Ayudemos a este pobre elefante a recuperar una vida digna. No podemos quedarnos de brazos cruzados.

  • linda

    After reading Sunder’s distressing story I am delighted that progress is being
    made to improve his life by Animal Rahat but his emotional scars will be deep
    I feel that his only hope of rehabilitation would be a complete change of environment
    and integration with other elephants in a sanctuary where he can roam free. I agree with
    J. Wolski that tourists should not visit these temples where elephants are being abused
    and the abusers should be put on trial for the horrors which have been inflicted.

  • Barry Kybird

    Are elephants ram pasad and gajraj also being placed in a sanctuary ? Surely they cannot be left in the same situation as sunder enduring the same physical and mental torture every day !!

    Anymore information on them all ?

    • Ellen

      Hi Barry, I guess we will have to follow up and see what happens. I am glad Paul McCartney brought this to the world’s attention but we don’t have his connections. At least many more of us are aware now about how these temple elephants are treated.

  • Ellen

    Thank you for the article. I am so saddened to think that an animal would be treated like that at a temple. Thank you Mr. McCartney.

  • Barry Kybird

    When WILL I be able to hear that dear Sunder is in the sanctuary ?

    There doesnt seem to be any confirmation of this yet ?

  • Barry Kybird

    Received the ewes from PETA uk and PETA India that influential local temple people still refuse to allow Sunder to go to a sanctuary !. A ministerial order was given to free him, how can this be overridden by these people that keep him in spiked chains, hardly able to move or ever lie down !
    I hope Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson know about this latest news and are able to effect his release ?

  • Lyn Flanders

    Dreadful dreadful life for this poor soul so far! I am a supporter of Boon Lotts Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand where the elephants have a WONDERFUL LIFE! opposite of this poor boy!! PLEASE HELP HIM! This is TORTURE!!

  • Brunila De SOuza

    Please save Sunder. May Lord Buddha send his heavenly help and help PETA and ANIMAL Rahat to help release Sunder and provide him a decent life. All religious institutions should be banned from keeping elephants as they ill treat them.

    Brunila Goa India
    1-10-2013 3 pm.

  • Dorothy Beechers

    This poor elephants life at the hands of abusive mahouts/keepers, is disgusting.
    Sunder was give to this temple, as i thought a symbol of the religion and culture of India.
    But no sadly all this poor inocent elephant has had to endure is a life of sadistic abuse.

    Please Animal Rahat get Sunder out of there, as soon as possible.

  • Brunila D Souza

    Please save SUnder. Elephants should not be kept by Temple authorities since they ill treat them

  • Kristel Carol Mercado

    How ironic. The temple people should stopped this cruelty why didn’t they do anything? For 6 years chained and beaten? Wow I can’t even imagine how to live like that. Surely Sunder would be more than happy to die. How can humans treat these gentle animals so cruelly?

  • ann naumann

    Please free this beautiful soul! He has suffered enough and we need to show him that not all humans are abusive…………..

  • Renee Miranda

    I’m so angry at how Sunder has been treated, and as much as I try to understand I can’t. I can’t understand why she/he is being abused and hit over and over again. How can that person live with themselves knowing what they are doing. This is a very special animal and needs love and care from someone that want’s her recovery to be first and foremost. The person beating him/her needs to go to jail. I know that laws are different in other countries, but he still needs to go to jail for the abuse. NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO BEAT AND ABUSE ANY ANIMALS…AND THAT MEANS NO ONE. Please do something now, bring her/him to USA. I know it would be costly but we can raise the money if we want to..and I would defiantly help. Now I’m crying, because it is so painful for me to see this video…Sunder must be freed! PLEASE DO SOMETHING NOW…

  • Nicola Fowler

    Haven’t stopped having anxiety about this elephant for the last 2 days (when I 1st read about him) What can we do seriously because although I have signed a petition in all honesty what will that do really. Action needs to be taken because every day you take trying to decide how to help that poor animal is spending another 24 hours in hell :( I honestly don’t see why the elephant can’t just be taken and put some where it can be happy. I wish I had money because I would be on the next plane out there, or a celebrity because if you can get celebrities to highlight this and get it into the media more than maybe something will be done quicker, seriously what can I do to help because I literally can’t sleep at night atm because it’s all I think about xx

  • Subrata Roy

    It is the human who can do anything with other’s life only. I think the word ‘ inhuman ‘ is remain in dictionary only . Please release him .

  • Susheer

    It’s really sad to see the plight of the dear elephant Sunder and his sufferrings all these 6 years. What is the point in running a temple when it’s very own elephant is ill treated and tortured. I pray god to get Sunder freed from the clutches of his torturers and to punish those who are involved in torturing the poor animal.

  • elizabeth peters

    WHEN IS HE MOVING???????????????????

  • Valerie

    This is not right, this is not acceptable. Animals do not need to be starved, beaten or abused. How can we help? Who can we contact to stop the abuse? Are people not aware that the way things are going elephants will be extinct? Help us and guide us on to whom we can contact to keep up pressure on this abuse. This animal does not deserve to be punished repeatedly. Can not the animal be sent to somewhere that he would flourish? Perhaps a childrens hospital where they can love the animal.. Surely there is a much better home for Sunder.

  • Nanette Valencia

    These cowards who beat a chained animal don’t deseve to have him. They only bring suffering and that is no way for an animal to live. These people are incredibly stupid. I pray that the right and moral thing is done to help this beautiful animal.

  • joy hamilton

    please please free sunder please please please free sunder

  • carol foley

    Please help this tortured little soul. He is one of GODS creatures and was not put on earth to be treated this way, or to be a slave to the temple. If they believe in God they would not treat him and torture him like they do anyway. Please help him.

  • Lisa DeMetz

    PLEASE move Sunder to a sanctuary!!! He does not deserve what these monsters are doing to him!!! How are these monsters getting away with not honoring Court Orders???!!! This beautiful defenseless innocent elephant should have the life he deserve – roaming the free land the way God intended!!!

  • Sylvia

    Please free this inocent baby from his cruel jail warden.

  • Pamela Miller

    I know there are many people and organizations trying to help Sunder. I want to do anything I can to help also.I have signed all the petitions I have seen to have him released as ordered by the proper authorities. I am only one individual living in the US, but if I can write to anyone or any organization or call or email please just tell me who and I will. I know there are other elephants who suffer also, but Sunder has captured my heart. I cry thinking of his torment. Knowing he should be safe and yet will not be released makes it even worse. Anyone with suggestions please get back to me.

  • Marie Hill

    with all this proof and great supporters, Sunder has hope i believe he will finally get to be an elephant and bath and roam and be with other elephants an elephant never forgets and he knows people are there to help they are very smart

  • Marie Hill

    with all this proof and great supporters, Sunder has hope i believe he will finally get to be an elephant and bath and roam and be with other elephants . elephant never forgets and he knows people are there to help they are very smart , Sunder has a spot in .. heart and i would love to go visit him when h gets to his sanctuary… think positive….that can be the only outcome. Freedom and happiness.. no more pain an fear

  • Carol Foley

    Dear Sir, I am writing on behalf of Sudar the elephant and his cruel treatment.I beg you to release him, he needs to be free. He is one of Gods creatures and you cannot allow this cruel treatment to go on. Please release him.m

  • laurel mancini

    Ganesha does not like his fellow creatures to be mistreated. Of course Sunder was mischievous as a child – all children can be. But that does not call for beating, which teaches nothing. Hand signals and verbal commands are much better. If one must have an elephant. Otherwise, leave it alone.


    His owner should be brought to justice on animal abuse and giving Indian Hindus a Bad Name in the U.S and world. Shame on such low person. You guys with India Peta should have a YOUTUBE COMMERCIAL CHANNEL OPEN to do a Video clips and updates on these animal abuses.

    Dallas,TEXAS USA

  • Fran MacLain

    Please go on line and get all the email addresses of the people who can help. I google has Sunder been freed and find email address for the law enforcement agency and the sanctuary that is suppposed to take Sunder. I read the other day that it will take 2-4 weeks to remove Sunder…. that is unacceptable – we went to the moon in 3 days, why can’t we move Sunder immediately.
    Google the names of the people who can help facilitate Sunders freedom and keep emailing until Sunder is free. I also emailed the India embassy in Washington D.C. and asked for their help. Keep sending emails until we see Sunder in the sanctuary.
    I also requested that someone be placed with Sunder 24/7 to keep him from continual abuse.Until Sunder is in the sanctuary and free from his tormentors we have not completed our mission to have him freed.

  • kunal kumar

    This is is brutal behaviour. I cant believe that any human can behave like that with an animal Plz make sure that these people should be punished properly. Please help sunder,, treat him properly and love him.

  • Linda macdonald

    I’m sorry I have a typo on my comment Sunder of