An urgent call on the evening of the fifth of February set about a chain of events that resulted in an emergency rescue mission to bring to safety an elephant who we now call Sanjay. Sanjay’s rescue was incredibly sensitive due to the nature of his story and the covert and urgent basis on which he needed to be brought to safety. This made it incredibly difficult for us to share with our amazing supporters the incredible story of this fantastic elephant, and the series of events that led to him becoming the twenty fourth elephant to be rescued and brought into our care. At Wildlife SOS we cherish the support of the extended family we have developed across the globe and love keeping them updated on the animals whose rescues and recovery they help make possible. So it was particularly hard for us to hold back the little information we were slowly piecing together about Sanjay’s story, but the sensitivity of the entire operation necessitated our discretion and we were only ready to reveal his entire story and the details of his journey to freedom once we knew for sure that he was safely in our care.
And so, soon after Sanjay safely touched down at the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, we put together a webinar for all of our supporters to update them about this elephant that they had all grown to love and had grown increasingly curious about over the last few days.
Presented by our Elephant Campaign Manager Rhea Lopez, the webinar detailed the unique circumstances under which Sanjay came to our notice and the reasons for his hasty and urgent rescue. With accompanying pictures and stories straight from the field, the attendees got a glimpse into the dangerous late-night rescue operation and loading, and the day long journey back to the safety of Sanjay’s new home at the sanctuary. Ultimately, Rhea talked to the enthralled audience about the joy of getting to know an elephant like Sanjay, listing out all the unique characteristics that make him such an endearing and special elephant, as well as the physical and mental scars that were left behind by his years of abusive captivity. Although the parts of the webinar about Sanjay’s horrific past were difficult to watch and listen to, it ended on a positive note – with a video commemorating his journey to freedom and all the dust baths, sugarcane and love that made Sanjay’s first few days at the centre a happy ending to his tale of trauma.
The webinar concluded with an interactive question and answer session in which Rhea responded to the audience’s eager, concerned and insightful queries into Sanjay’s rescue, his well-being and his new life at the centre, as well as broader questions about captive elephants in India and the work being done by Wildlife SOS to help them.
In case you missed out on the webinar, but want a glimpse into Sanjay’s amazing story, you can catch a recording at this link.