For more than 50 years, Mohan knew nothing but a life of suffering — but now he's finally able to break free of his dark past and embrace the bright future ahead of him.
When Wildlife SOS first rescued Raju, an elephant who became famous for "weeping" upon his rescue, in India back in 2014, they came across another elephant who had undergone the same cruelty Raju had suffered for decades. That elephant was Mohan.
Mohan chained up and wincing in pain Wildlife SOS
As a baby, Mohan was stolen from the wild, separated from his family and herd in the 1960s. From there, the calf was systematically broken so that he could become a begging elephant, Wildlife SOS wrote in a press release. Like most captive elephants, he was tied up and beaten so that he would be more easily trainable by his owners.
Mohan being used as a working elephant Wildlife SOS
"He spent the majority of his time in the villages near Lucknow, where he walked the streets begging for money or begging outside temples or hired out to be used for wedding ceremonies," Wildlife SOS wrote. "The severe scars and puncture wounds on his body and his emaciated condition confirm the extensive torture and neglect he has endured over the years."
Mohan chained up and standing in his own fecesWildlife SOS
Wildlife SOS first became aware of Mohan's plight during the Raju rescue. The two elephants had spent years of their lives chained side by side together at an elephant camp, making them "brothers in pain," according to Wildlife SOS. Mohan was so hungry he resorted to eating plastic.
Ever since 2014, the organization has been fighting relentlessly to deliver Mohan the same type of freedom Raju now enjoys.
An emaciated Mohan Wildlife SOS
However, that was easier said than done. Mohan earned the nickname of the "unluckiest elephant in the world" for several upsetting reasons. His rescue and transport to Wildlife SOS' Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura was postponed by hostile, violent local mobs, who were determined to keep him chained up, and more than 20 delays in court proceedings. Eventually, was placed in the custody of the forestry department, where he could do nothing else but wait.
Mohan arriving to his new home Wildlife SOS
It wasn't until this month that a high court took Mohan's deteriorating health into serious consideration and gave the go-ahead for Mohan to be transferred to Wildlife SOS's elephant care center, where he'll receive long-term medical treatment and, more importantly, a home where he'll never be hurt again.
Another elephant rescued by Wildlife SOS named Phoolkali welcoming Mohan Wildlife SOS
Mohan's medical recovery includes a healthy diet rich with fruits and vegetables to help him regain the weight he's lost from malnutrition and illness.
He also has a worm infestation in his stomach to fight off, in addition to liver issues.
His road to rehabilitation and becoming a completely healthy elephant is long, but he now has an entire team dedicated to seeing him through the journey.
Ever since his arrival at the elephant care center on September 22, Mohan has been getting all of the love and pampering he's been denied so far in life, in the form of baths, treats and long walks around his large enclosure.
"His freedom has been a long time coming, and we are so grateful to everyone who stood strong through this long and often disheartening and dangerous fight for his freedom," Geeta Seshamani, cofounder of Wildlife SOS, said in the press release.
"This day really validates all the hard work that went in to his rescue, and we hope it sets a much-needed precedent for other captive elephants in India that animal abuse will not be tolerated," Seshamani said.
Mohan bonding with SeshamaniWildlife SOS
Want to help Wildlife SOS continue doing good work for animals like Mohan in need? You can make a donation here.
Watch this video of Mohan enjoying his first freedom walk at his new home: