“Raju became a symbol of hope for captive, abused elephants all over the world,” Wildlife SOS said in a statement. “His spirit was all but broken, a testament to the ordeals he had been through.”
Raju was brought to the Wildlife SOS rescue center, where veterinarians rushed to treat his leg, which had been seriously injured by the shackle. He was also suffering from severe malnutrition, foot ailments and painful abscesses on his shoulders and hips from his life being ridden on the streets.
That was four years ago — and now, Raju is so content living life as a free elephant. On Wednesday, the Wildlife SOS staff surprised him with a party complete with decorations, toys and treats to celebrate his rescue anniversary.