World’s ‘Unluckiest Elephant’ Is Finally Free After 50 Years of Abuse

Two years ago, hearts melted around the world when an elephant named Raju cried tears of joy after being saved from a lifetime of suffering. Now, rescuers are celebrating another epic win after finally securing the freedom of another elephant who was supposed to have been saved with Raju.

Mohan, who is now believed to be about 55-years-old, was taken from his family in the wild as a baby and sold into a life of slavery. It’s believed that he and Raju were once kept together when they were young while they were for sale, before they were both bought by members of the same family.

“The fact that they were chained together at only a trunk’s length away from one another for so long makes them brothers in pain. While there is no evidence that they are related by blood, the years of abuse they withstood side by side surely must have bonded them. And each was the other’s only witness to the suffering and brutality they endured,” said Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, the organization that spearheaded the rescue.

Mohan has spent his existence being exploited as a begging elephant in the streets, used to haul heavy loads or confined by chains. His body now tells a story of a lifetime of physical abuse and neglect.

Wildlife SOS had planned on rescuing Mohan at the same time as Raju, but he vanished without a trace. He was later found, but efforts to save him continued to be thwarted by a ridiculous list of delays in court, appeals, more delays and an angry mob of hundreds of people who blocked an attempt to move him, all while Mohan continued slowly deteriorating.

Mohan update: As you know, we were expecting to go to court tomorrow in the battle for Mohan’s freedom. But we just…

Posted by Wildlife S.O.S on Thursday, June 9, 2016

His past and seemingly futile efforts to secure his freedom over the past two years have gotten him the unfortunate title of world’s unluckiest elephant, but rescuers never gave up trying to save him. He amassed an international crowd of supporters with hundreds of thousands of people signing petitions supporting his freedom – more than 214,000 people signed the Care2 petition asking officials to expedite his release.

Over the summer, he finally got some relief when he was transferred to the Forest Department, but the battle to officially free him still wasn’t over. This month a court brought the news that his supporters had been waiting for – he was to be moved to Wildlife SOS’ Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura.

“A little to the left..or right?! A little higher, maybe?”
While the #ElephantAmbulance makes its way to our rescue…

Posted by Wildlife S.O.S on Thursday, September 22, 2016

He had to be picked up in an unmarked truck last week to avoid any potential interference before being transferred to Wildlife SOS’ animal ambulance, but the trek to rescue him was successful.

MOHAN UPDATE! At the stoke of midnight (India time), Mohan entered the Wildlife SOS Animal Ambulance for his final ride…

Posted by Wildlife S.O.S on Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Now, his rescuers are finally able to celebrate his safe arrival at the center, where he will finally be able to experience some freedom and get the much needed care he deserves, which will hopefully alleviate some of the serious health conditions he now suffers from as a result of his mistreatment.

This is just some of the pampering that Mohan will now get every day now that he is free! We are still looking for 90…

Posted by Wildlife S.O.S on Saturday, September 24, 2016

“It is with immense joy that we welcome Mohan to the Elephant Care Center. His freedom has been a long-time coming, and we are so grateful to everyone who stood strong through this long and often disheartening and dangerous fight for his freedom,” said Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of Wildlife SOS.

While Mohan will now be able to live out his days in comfort and eventually enjoy the company of other elephants, his rescuers hope his story will help send the message that cruelty to animals won’t be tolerated, and neither will the illegal ownership of elephants.

“This has been an incredibly difficult fight,” said Nikki Sharp, executive director of the Wildlife SOS’ U.S. branch. “But most of the hard work still lies ahead in teaching Mohan how to be a real elephant. We don’t feel like we can give him all those years back that he lost. But we can give him a great life at our sanctuary. We can give him joy and happiness―something I think he rarely experienced before.”

For more info on how to help other elephants like Mohan, and updates on how he’s settling in, check out Wildlife SOS.

Photo credit: WIldlife SOS





Thanks for sharing

John B
John B1 years ago

Thanks Alicia for the article and video clip.

Dagmara W
Dagmara W2 years ago

Thank you! :))

Marija Mohoric
Marija M2 years ago

:)) tks

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara2 years ago

Well done!

Karin Geens
Karin Geens2 years ago

Thank you ! Made my day !

Elaine W.
Elaine W2 years ago

Happy tears for these rescued beings. Thanks.

nicky m.
nicky m2 years ago

Oh dear! Why do HAPPY things make me cry so much!? Good news like this is always tinged with sadness as what Mohan has been through for half a century! what a wonderful rescue and what a lot of work and preparation and care went into the rescue. I was a bit worried as he just grabbed whole bunches of bananas and stuffed them in his mouth that he might have an awful attack of wind on the journey! I am sure you all join with me in sending huge amounts of love across the miles for this darling elephant so that he will have a wonderful life from now on. Thanks SO much for this news and all the people involved in this rescue.

Sandra Vito
Sandra Vito2 years ago