Raju the elephant hadn’t really known a life away from the chains that made it difficult for him to walk and left him with wounds in his powerful legs.
It was not known how many of his 50 years had been spent in chains, but a wildlife rescue group believes he had been captured as a young elephant and been bound and beaten for decades.
On the night of July 2, members of the group – Wildlife SOS – aided by personnel from India's Forestry Commission and two local police officers freed Raju from his captors in the Uttar Pradesh region of India.
The chains were removed and the rescue team fed him, gently touched him and spoke softly to him.
Nikki Sharp, the executive director of Wildlife SOS-USA, told The Huffington Post Monday that the elephant’s reaction was one that tugged at the team’s hearts.
"The vet and our team came with fruits and just started speaking softly to him and to reassure him that we were there to help, and it was at that time that tears flooded down his face,” Sharp said.
Raju was taken to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura where he reportedly is on his way to recovery.