• Don Lichterman

Sunder, Raju 5 Year Anniversary, Shriners & Breaking Eyewitness Footage in the Elephant in the Room!

Breaking PETA eyewitness footage shows elephants who were forced to participate in the cruel Chitwan Elephant Festival being repeatedly struck and gouged with bullhooks—spear-like weapons with a sharp hook on one end—and their ears being violently yanked. Mahouts (handlers) also beat frightened elephants with other weapons, such as sticks and makeshift wooden knives.

One mahout can be seen repeatedly jabbing a baby elephant behind the ear to force her to "play" football. Right after the match, eyewitnesses saw that she was suffering from several fresh, painful, bloody wounds.

When these elephants aren't being forced to perform at this festival, they're used for rides by tourists visiting Chitwan. Elephants who are forced to "play" football or give rides are controlled through physical violence and psychological domination. They're chained and beaten with bullhooks or other weapons and constantly threatened with violence to keep them afraid and submissive.

Elephants used for polo "games," rides, shows, and other forms of entertainment suffer tremendously. Even when not performing, they're typically deprived of everything that's natural and important to them.

Last year, more than a dozen companies dropped their support of the King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Thailand after a PETA eyewitness exposé revealed abuse similar to that documented in Nepal, and the tournament's organizers ceased their operations in Thailand—making the Chitwan Elephant Festival the only event in the world in which elephants are shamefully abused for and forced to "play" polo.

Since hearing from PETA and our affiliates, Renault, MINISO, Carlsberg Group, United Beverage (makers of Pulpy), Kumari Bank, Mega Bank, JGI (maker of Ruslan Vodka), Chaudary Group (maker of Wai Wai noodles), Everest Insurance and Hotel Seven Star—which sponsored the event last year—have cut ties with the Chitwan Elephant Festival. However, Mount Everest Group, an advertiser at the festival, has no plans to stop supporting it. Please join PETA in urging the company to make the compassionate decision to stop supporting these cruel "games."


Shriners International: Stop Abusing Elephants in Circuses!

Shriners is well-known for its Shriners Hospitals for Children. However, Shriners circus fundraisers are rooted in harm to elephants and other animals. Generally, the money raised from these circuses does not even go to care for children at the hospitals. Raising money from the abuse of elephants and other animals is never justified. Tell Shriners International and Shriners everywhere to stop abusing elephants in circuses now!

See Sunder living his best life now – thanks to kind souls like you!


Today is a wondrous occasion for someone very special: an elephant named Sunder, whose story took a different turn because of compassionate PETA members like you.

For years, Sunder was held captive in a temple in India, where he was used to attract visitors and donations and was beaten to make him "listen" and "behave". He was kept tightly bound in heavy chains (often spiked ones) that left deep wounds on his legs. An injured eye, a hole in his ear, and the many scars on his body were telling signs of the decades of abuse that he had endured. Taken from his mother, denied the company of other elephants, and even refused the medical care that he needed, he was miserable and alone – and with no end to his plight in sight.

Sunder is beaten by his handler.


When he was 13 years old, staff members with Animal Rahat (an Indian organisation supported by PETA) persuaded the temple to accept the free veterinary care they offered Sunder. While that helped, it was clear that what he needed most was freedom from the abuse, loneliness, and exploitation he endured at the temple.

An Animal Rahat veterinarian examines Sunder at the temple.


With the help of PETA affiliates around the world, Animal Rahat soon launched an unprecedented drive to give Sunder a real life. Tens of thousands of kind PETA supporters – including Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson – added their voices to the growing clamour for his release.


It took two years of determined campaigning, but the Indian Supreme Court ruled that Sunder should be rescued and rehabilitated at Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bengaluru, where elephants roam nearly 50 hectares of beautifully forested land. Getting him released into his new home was another major battle, which turned dangerous when thugs punctured the tyres of the lorry used to transport him and beat up the Animal Rahat workers who were there to rescue him.


But just look at Sunder now!

Watch the new video of Sunder's wonderful transformation.

It has now been five years since Sunder stepped, curious, into his safe new home. Today, perhaps more than ever, he still enjoys the sanctuary and spends his days foraging freely in the forest, playing in streams and ponds, and relishing the company of other elephants – all things that he'd never had a chance to experience before. Animal Rahat veterinarians still visit him regularly and report how well he's being cared for at the park and how he's flourishing there.


On behalf of Sunder – and other abused, neglected, and forlorn elephants we want to help rescue from similar horrific circumstances, thank you for your compassion and support. You can see what it means to Sunder – and to everyone working for animal liberation.

As we zero in on Raju's 5th Rescue Anniversary (coming right up on July 4th), we're in the mood to celebrate with a special giveaway!


For your chance to win a cool Raju gift pack, featuring the items shown below, just sign up to get occasional free text alerts from Wildlife SOS. The gift pack includes: an adorable Raju plush toy, a limited-edition Raju coin, and a pair of socks featuring a rather dashing photo of Raju. 


We'll only text you when big things like elephant rescues are happening, or for our exclusive weekly wildlife video that's sure to make you smile. It's easy to sign up — just click here!

Elephant in The Room


"Corporations Are People Too My Friends."
Our companies are known for creating products that enhance people's lives.  Through Sunset Corporation of America and its companies, we’re equally dedicated to improving lives.  Our commitment extends to helping local communities, fostering better educational systems, supporting the arts and culture, helping disadvantaged youth, protecting and improving the environment, animal welfare, wildlife issues and encouraging employee volunteerism.

Our companies are known for creating products that enhance people's lives.  Through Sunset Corporation of America and its companies, we’re equally dedicated to improving lives.   Our commitment extends to helping local communities, fostering better educational systems, supporting the arts and culture, helping disadvantaged youth, protecting and improving the environment, animal welfare, wildlife issues and encouraging employee volunteerism.


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