Court Rules That Sunder WILL Be Free!
  • 07
  • Apr

Court Rules That Sunder WILL Be Free!

We have some excellent news today that is bound to bring a smile to the face of anyone who has heard the story of Sunder, a young Indian elephant who has spent the last six years chained up in a temple, miserable and alone, and endured beatings and abuse.

Today, in a landmark judgment, the Honourable Bombay High Court ruled in favour of PETA India by upholding the implementation of the Joint Secretary (Forests), Government of Maharashtra’s order of August 2012 to release Sunder to a sanctuary. This is the result we’ve all been hoping for, and it’s a major victory in the 21-month-long campaigns by PETA and our international affiliates to free Sunder – supported by Paul McCartney, Pamela Anderson, many well-known Bollywood stars and more than 17,000 PETA UK supporters who wrote to Indian officials calling for Sunder’s release.

Sunder’s shocking beatings have been caught on videotape, and veterinarians and elephant experts who examined him found him scarred, wounded and chained so tightly that he couldn’t lie down. The Jyotiba temple came into possession of Sunder in 2007, but after constant chaining and beatings came to light, Maharashtra Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued orders for Sunder’s release to a sanctuary on 21 August 2012 and 9 November 2012, respectively. However, those orders were never carried out, and Sunder was then whisked away at the behest of the Member of Legislative Assembly Vinay Kore and hidden in an old poultry shed, where he remained chained. In December 2013, PETA India obtained new video footage showing that his mahout was violently beating him.

Now, at long last, it looks like Sunder’s suffering could be over. The next step will be to transfer Sunder to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Bangalore. PETA India is calling on officials to implement the court’s order quickly, before he can be harmed again.

Thank you to everyone who spoke out for Sunder. Now, all compassionate people can look forward to seeing him finally receive the care and respect that he deserves.

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  1. avatar Willie Campbell says:

    Thanks for your update.
    Can we assume that Sunder’s safe and being looked after meantime, getting well fed and getting some treatment for his injuries

  2. avatar Vicki Dunch says:

    I have been in turmoil over this story. I don’t understand how the law works over there but I can’t believe this has been able to go on for so long. Why this elephant? Why was he singled out and mistreated in this way for so long? I don’t understand this at all and I think that all parties involved with this abuse should be imprisoned and treated the same way he has been treated. I’ve never been so upset over the treatment of an animal like when I read this story. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to all those who helped this poor animal and I sincerely hope he will be permanently freed and will get well.

    • avatar suzanne says:

      I totally agree with you. Seeing Sunder being beaten touched me to the core. These are such AMAZING animals. My heart wept for him. I hope the mahout recieves some form of punishment. Certainly, at the very least, NEVER be allowed around elephants again. My dream is that Sunder will be shown in a video reuniting with friends and family at the sanctuary.

    • avatar Julie T says:

      I feel the same way. I want justice not just the poor elephant’s freedom. If those responsible get away with it, they will merely find another animal to torment.

  3. avatar Kim Hughes says:

    Come on peta lets see some photos of sunder enjoying his freedom we all waited so long for this

  4. avatar Sylvia Browning says:

    I shall only believe that Sunder is safe once I have seen photos of him in a proper sanctuary alongside a PETA representative, and know that he is faring well and out of all danger. He deserves all the love and care in the world, after his life of hell.

    I hope and pray that abuse of elephants and all other innocent and defenceless creatures – anywhere in the world – will stop.

    • avatar Angela Warburg says:

      I am in total agreement with everyone who will not feel happy until Sunder is shown in photographs in decent surroundings and being cared for as he should be. This case has dragged on and I dont think he is safe until he has been removed from his cruel jailers.

  5. avatar Anne simpson says:

    Glad you have finally manage to free him from his suffering
    I take it he’s been looked after fed watered and his injuries and would are being treated
    Thanks for the update
    Please update me further

  6. avatar Wendy Scott says:

    So pleases to hear some good news, may sunder be forever loved and cared and time to heal from such atrocities.

  7. avatar William Markham says:

    Free this elephant, let him be placed in a sanctuary, and stop the abuse now! Thank you.

  8. avatar Heather Lucas says:

    So pleased that, at last, that poor long suffering Sunder can see the light at the end of what has been a terrible painful life. Hopefully things should now move quickly for his release. Cannot understand how anyone can treat animals like that.

  9. avatar jackie says:

    So pleased but why oh why has this taken so long to get him moved, im sure we all would pay to get him away sooner, cant believe the people who knew he was there didnt do more, thank god for you people, cant wait to see his foto’s soon im sure his fack will tell us all a beautifull end to his story xx

  10. avatar Kim says:

    Please give an update on Sunder. We are all suffering until we see him safe and free!


  12. avatar miriam says:

    Of all places a temple where you would think this beautiful animal would be safe and revered ! And in a country that has strong belief in Karma, well it’s coming hopefully sooner than later !!!! A million thanks to all the wonderful caring people who freed Sunder Godbless you all X

  13. avatar Caspar Browning says:


  14. avatar Caspar Browning says:

    When will Sunder be free? He must be freed NOW, not at some unforeseen date in the future.

    I do NOT believe this, WHEN will Sunder be free? This year, next year, sometime, never.

    Procrastination is the thief of time. Poor Sunder will be dead by the time he is freed.

    Give us some credit, please.

  15. avatar Pauline says:

    What Fantastic news, well done all :)

  16. avatar Louise Dennis says:

    Can’t wait to see the photos of Sunder free and living life to the full. Well done PETA and everyone who signed the petition.

  17. avatar Wrenn Reed says:

    When? When? When? When? WHEN???? I can’t stand this wait any longer!!!!!

  18. avatar Deb jones says:

    Poor thing! Leave these animals to live in peace!

  19. avatar Marjorie Caruso says:

    I’m so very happy that Sunder will be free. When will this happen?

    Will those that beat him be jailed? They need to be!

  20. avatar Deb Toms says:

    It’s about time!!!! This poor baby! I’e been signing and signing and writing and writing!!! He’ll be so happy :) WHEN THIS TAKES PLACE!!

  21. avatar Lisa Huskisson says:

    Wonderful news, finally this abused, terrified elephant will be free from his oppressors. This vile life he was forced to endure was at a temple !!!!!
    The sooner the meek inherit the earth the better as far as I am concerned.

    I do hope that Sunder will live the rest of his days in a loving nad happy place.

    Unfortunatley elephants DO have excellent memories, but I hope with all my heart that eventually, through plenty of care and compassion, that Sunder will be a happy and content elephant xxxx

  22. avatar Ane says:

    Has Sunder been released yet? It does not appear so.

  23. avatar Dawn Smith says:

    I am so pleased !!! Made my day xxx I hope Sunder has a long happy peaceful Autumn to his life xxx

  24. avatar Penny Ryan says:

    All elephants should be free or in a sanctuary!!!!

  25. avatar lucie claire says:

    it is a temple you say ???? so why this violence … i thought temples were a place of peace … love and compassion ….. gee … gee ..
    and yes some photos please to see how he is….

  26. avatar Amanda mansfield says:

    Fantastic News thank god you step in just in time poor sunder now she can finally have some life bless, it’s a sick world full of cruel men.
    Well done PETA

  27. avatar Lyne Forget says:

    Makes me feel like going over there immediately to make sure Sunder is alright and that he stays safe until he can be moved to a sanctuary. (I would make a small but vigilent bodyguard!!!!!)

  28. avatar Asha osman says:

    Shame on that temple. As a indian hindu I am thoroughly ashamed of these people and to think that we have an god represented by an elephant didn’t make the blindest bit of difference to these vile humans.
    Thank god for helping this poor creature.

  29. May he swiftly and carefully be taken to sanctuary. He is not safe until that time. May this group be banned from acquiring another elephant to abuse.

  30. Thank god, finally … This poor elephant has been through ENOUGH! Thank goodness someone has finally listened, this baby will hardly believe it, life begins!

  31. avatar Jen says:

    Any idea why this would happen in a country that allows cows to walk in the streets? What was their reason for doing this? We’ll never understand it. Please let us know when Sunder is finally free and post the photos. Thank you for your hard work.

  32. avatar Sharon Pawlett says:

    Great news go PETA go

  33. avatar Cara Moncrieff-Ross says:

    This is good news, but until asunder is actually freed from this situation his world remains the same – is this definitely going to happen?

  34. avatar Linda Cook says:

    Thank god that sunder has eventually got justice. This beautiful animal deserves all the love and attention in the world. Well done PETA and all.supporters for all the support.

  35. avatar Maureen Smith says:

    Can we see Sunder in his new environment, happy and contented?

  36. This is great news. What is to stop them from getting another elephant and treating that one just as badly, hope there is something in place to keep this from happening.

  37. avatar Sonia Chadwick says:

    I am so happy to hear this news x

  38. avatar Jacqueline Genova says:

    I echo what most others have asked for and that is a successful end to this story …preferably some photos of poor Sunder in his new home…please!

  39. avatar Tracey loisz says:

    Excellent news for sunder and all those involved in helping . Hope to see pics of sunder set free .

  40. avatar Teena says:

    I keep hearing this news but no news as to where Sunda is now or when he will be free.

  41. avatar Angela says:

    great news that Sunders suffering will soon be over, every living creature deserves to live its natural life without pain and fear, shame on all of those who take this away from them.

  42. avatar Anne says:

    For everyone asking for updates about Sunder, here’s the latest from PETA India:
    We’ll keep you posted as soon as we have more news to share!

  43. PLEASE Peta India follow this thru and ensure that Sunder is finally set free. Please release this information to everyone so we can know for sure that this beautiful animal has found peace at last – and please continue to check on him from time to time. This Vinay Kore should be questioned by police as to why he carried out the actions that he did (hid him away in an old poultry shed) and his mahoud should be charged. Please follow this thru.

  44. avatar Alexandra Hunter says:

    A temple with an abused elephant. That sucks. Stinking religions!

  45. avatar Narendra says:

    Whoever thought of gifting this magnificent creature to the Temple was an Idiot for sure. An elephant is considered as a sacred creature in India but the story of Sunder is really shocking since he was mistreated in the temple itself. This is just an evidence that in the name of God people do what they want to do. They have their stupid thoughts and stupid beliefs and they all are just hypocrites.

    Indian laws weak and the system is corrupt. I will not be happy unless Sunder is really out of that shady place and in a rehab in Banglore.

  46. avatar Patrice says:

    I want to see the evidence that he has been moved as promised.

  47. avatar Helena says:

    I understand that Sunder is still in that horrible prison and in spite of the Judge’s signature he is still NOT in a sanctuary! What is wrong and when is that going to be corrected? Sunder needs OUT of that Hellish Temple!!!

  48. avatar adele says:

    Please let us know when he has been.moved.

  49. avatar Erika says:

    Sunder you are my love.Suinder free or in a Sanctuary and same destiny for others creatures. Erika

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