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Elephant, 70, enjoys its first year of freedom after 50 years of slavery

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Lucknow, Jan 6: We have read enough heart-touching stories about human slaves. But how many times have we come across stories of elephant slaves? Recently, a 70-year-old elephant, who was freed after over 50 years of tourism enslavement, celebrated his first anniversary of retirement in Uttar Pradesh. The pachyderm named Giriraj is also the first-ever patient at India's first elephant hospital.

Elephant, 70, enjoys its first year of freedom after 50 years of slavery

According to a report in People.com (https://people.com/pets/wildlife-sos-elephant-hospital-india/), Giriraj is currently undergoing treatment at the hospital following a successful campaign titled #FreeGiriraj by PETA India which freed him from his tourism accountability. The hospital for elephants was opened last November by a non-profit support group in UP. The well-equipped hospital which also as an elephant ambulance is spread over an area of 10,000 square feet and is equipped to treat elephants that are sick and injured.

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Giriraj served for five decades in tourism spots like Shri Bhavani Museum, Yamai Devi Temple in Aundh and Satara in Maharashtra. He was kept in chains and used to give tourists ride on his back. His tusks were hacked off and he had poor diet and dehydration, investigators said.

"Gajraj's time in captivity left him with multiple health issues including a large painful abscess on his right hip and thin, worn out footpads that were so thin in some places that they had turned pink," Yaduraj Khadpekar, senior wildlife veterinary officer, told People.com .

The animal's ordeal finally ended and he was sent to a Wildlife SOS care centre following thousands of letters, calls and emails.

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