Government officials in Maharashtra, India have informed the Bombay High Court that they cannot move a 14-year-old elephant to a sanctuary as promised because the animal "was not cooperating." The elephant, named Sunder, has been part of an ongoing, high-profile case and has been the target of campaigners like PETA for years.
In response to a petition brought by PETA, the court had ordered Sunder to be moved to a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in Bangalore in 2012, because he was not being treated well at the temple where he was kept. Sunder had originally been given as a gift to that temple by a wealthy magistrate. Now officials are saying that the pachyderm is too aggressive to move, Zee News India reports:
Additional government pleader J S Saluja informed the court on December 23 that the state had tried to board the animal on a truck so that it could be taken to Bangalore, but it was not cooperating and was very aggressive. However, the elephant was now in good health and the state was waiting for the "right time" to take the animal in a truck to Bangalore, the pleader said.
The news comes just weeks after footage revealed disturbing images of handlers allegedly beating Sunder with a stick, and poor conditions in the animal's enclosure. As of now, Sunder is living in a poultry shed in Warananagar, and the government has been asked by one of the justices to file an affidavit before January 7 to resolve the issue.