After 50 years of being shackled in spikes, Raju the elephant has been freed from captivity in India. A team of 10 wildlife experts and veterinarians from Wildlife SOS, accompanied by police, entered his enclosure in the middle of the night, removed the shackles from his legs, and rescued Raju.
Operation Raju was difficult. During the mission, his captors tried to fight off the rescuers, who eventually had to gain the elephant's trust by offering it fruit.
Volunteers say they witnessed tears streaming down Raju's face after he was freed from his chains. Some animal experts believe elephants are capable of crying since they appear to experience emotions similar to those of humans.
Many commenters on the YouTube video are sympathetic toward the animal. One person wrote, "When are people going to realize that animals feel just as we do, if not more. So heartbreaking."
The rescuers say Raju was bound 24 hours a day and spent his time as a beggar's prop. He was found in poor shape after reportedly being starved and beaten. He's now recovering at the Elephant Conservation and Care Center. May he never be shackled or go hungry again. If you want to help with Raju's recovery, you can donate to the organization's cause.