Wildlife SOS, an NGO, in coordination with PETA, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), police and forest department carried out the rescue operation at Rambo circus in Pune.
“The four rescued elephants were named as Pearl, Ruby, Goldie and Sylvie in the circus. It was shocking to witness the inhumane conditions that the elephants were kept in, shackled by spiked chains and denied any chance at a natural life,” said Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of Wildlife SOS.
She said three horses, one pony and 14 dogs were also rescued from the same circus. The rescued animals would be handed over to two Maharashtra-based NGOs Animal Rahat and ResQ.
Seshamani added that the elephants would soon be shifted to the Wildlife SOS Elephant Care Center in Haryana or Uttar Pradesh, where they would receive veterinary care, a healthy diet, companionship and everything they need to have a healthy future.
Pearl and Ruby share a close relationship and were brought to the circus around the same time. Goldie is the oldest and Sylvie, the youngest of the four, is Goldie’s daughter.
Rhea Lopez, Elephant Campaign Manager – Wildlife SOS, said that while in the circus, the elephants were restrained by both front and back legs and were given no opportunity to exercise and no access to fresh water which was mandatory under the law.
“The mental and physical health status of these elephants is very poor. The rescues are part of Wildlife SOS ‘Circus Elephant Campaign’ to rehabilitate circus elephants across India,” she said.
A statement from the NGO said that at the beginning of the campaign there were 67 elephants in Indian circuses in 2015 while with the latest rescue of these four elephants, that number is down to 55 elephants.
According to experts, the average life of these elephants is 60 to 65 years, while those in the wild live for over 75 years.