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Help Rescued Elephant Lakshmi Reach Her Forever Home

For most of us growing up in India, captive elephants seem to be an integral part of our cultural landscape. We are used to seeing them at festivals, in temples, in circuses, on safaris, in plantations and even on the road, begging for alms. The chains around their feet, the stoic expression on their faces all seem part and parcel of their captive existence and not many of us doubt that they are loved and revered by their mahouts (elephant keeper), owners and of course, they are a big draw for devotees who want to be blessed by this reincarnation of Lord Ganesha.

However, the truth behind commercial elephant captivity in India is not as romantic. It is in fact, a relentless life spent on concrete floors, dark airless rooms with asbestos roofs, inadequate nutrition or access to water, little or no opportunity to interact with other members of their species and poor medical care. Needless to say, they also have to bear and an unending parade of weddings, temple festivities and other commercial activities that they have to perform in, at risk of being beaten if disobedient. How many of us would be comfortable knowing that the richly decorated elephant with bells hiding her chains, is actually suffering every minute of her inescapable life of slavery?
Elephants cannot ever be completely domesticated, what is true for a wild elephant is similarly applicable to a captive elephant. So, if a wild elephant lives in a herd, forages for food, eats over 300 kilos of fodder in a day, spends hours wallowing in swampy mud pastures, or soaking in lakes, migrates over large distances, lays down to sleep, or mates and has children, or even socializes, then each of these activities are necessary for a captive elephant to have a safe, healthy and productive life. 

Sadly, almost none of India’s 3500-4000 captive elephants have that luxury in its entirety, and for elephants held for temple duties, or commercial events, none of this is possible. Elephants are protected under the Schedule I of India’s Wildlife Protection Act, but due to our historical, social and religious context, those held in captivity are excluded from this protection. It is time to change this narrative.

Lakshmi was captured from the wild as a baby, she is 60 years old today, and she has spent that entire time in captivity, living in a dark room, performing commercial activities, and having no opportunity to remember that she ever had a wild past. 

She suffers from terrible medical neglect, with one of the worst cases of foot rot ever seen. Most captive elephants are prone to foot problems for example foot rot, abscesses, overgrown nails and cuticles and pad separation, which do not occur in the wild because they are walking on natural surfaces that take care of these issues. 
She has a home waiting for her and a new friend, another rescued elephant called Aneesha. This new home is spread over 2 acres of green pasture, with a new hydrotherapy pool being constructed, and many opportunities to play, rest, eat well and spend the retirement years in a cruelty-free and safe environment. We need to raise enough money to facilitate her transport to Malur, and we cannot do it without the support of committed and caring individuals such as you. 
Lakshmi has given 60 years in the service of humans at the cost of her health and happiness. She deserves a second chance at living a life that nature always intended for her. 

Please help us to make this possible. She has been treated for her foot problems and even has special shoes to wear till she’s better. She’s ready now to make her journey to her final home. Her paperwork is in order and the team is ready for her arrival. All we need is your support to help Lakshmi live her new life.
Break up of funds:
Truck Hire Cost to Transport Lakshmi to the Malur Elephant Rescue Centre for an 18 hour journey
Rs. 40,000
Food (veggies/fodder) for the journey
Rs. 10,000
Accompanying staff + veterinarian
Rs. 30,000
Rs. 5,000
Reinforced steel frame enclosure for Lakshmi at the new Malur facility - lakhs inclusive of material, labour and construction costs
Rs. 4,60,000

Ask for an update
13th March 2017

*warning* (graphic images).
Dear Donors,

We regret to announce further delays in moving Lakshmi, as some of her wounds on her feet have relapsed. The scabs have reopened, as she began walking slowly despite wearing her shoes, so its painful for her to stand on her feet for several hours at a time.

We're continuing her treatment, and hope that in another month, she will be healed enough to take the 18 hr journey to the Malur Elephant Care Facility. Meanwhile, her enclosure is now ready, and she has a mud wallow, swimming pool waiting for her. But we have to move cautiously and at a pace suited to her recovery, so that we don't end up damaging her feet further.

 We are grateful for your support, encouragement and request you to be patient with us, as we're trying to do what's best for her. So, she will remain at the transit facility, for another month with intensive medical therapy, and once we are assured by the vet, that she can take the journey, then we will move her. Meanwhile, she needs your prayers, and good wishes, as she is in considerable pain, and we're doing everything we possibly can to make her feel better. It is so frustrating that this gentle, wonderful animal is needlessly suffering due to the deliberate neglect caused by her previous owners.

We thank you for your support and will keep you posted. We're sharing some photos of her feet, so that you can see for yourself, why we're unable to put her through the transfer journey at present.

Warm Regards

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raised of Rs.545,000 goal

240 Supporters

0 Days to go

Payment options: Online, cheque pickups

Beneficiary: Wildlife Rescue... info_outline

Fundraising campaigns (1)

Supporters (240)

Tehmina donated Rs.10,000
Anonymous donated Rs.500
Anjana donated $50
Rohit donated $50

Wish Lakshmi a healthy and happy retirement. She's definitely earned it.

Shruti donated Rs.500
Amit donated Rs.2,000