Allahabad: After spending 50 years in captivity and living a life of torment, Raju, the crying elephant whose story touched millions has been officially declared free.
Raju's former abusive owners had launched a legal battle in the court to reclaim him after insisting he was their 'rightful property'. Wildlife SOS lawyers argued an elephant cannot be owned by someone under Indian law as they are all owned by the Government. They successfully argued that only a license issued from the Chief Wildlife Warden is proof of ownership. The legal team of Raju's former owners were unable to produce documents to show that they were the certified owners of the elephant
After a series of hearings, the Allahabad High Court ruled that Raju must stay with his rescuers from the British charity Wildlife SOS.
Founder of the charity Kartick Satyanarayan, who led the daring, midnight rescue to save Raju said: 'We are beyond overjoyed that Raju is finally saved. 'This is a huge victory, not only for Raju, but for every elephant suffering in pain silently.
"WE WON!!" Wildlife SOS said in a statement on its Facebook page. "Raju will be staying with us! We are so grateful to all of you who spoke out on his behalf, and who supported him from afar."
— Wildlife SOS (@WildlifeSOS) December 3, 2014