Raju and Mohan met when they were calves in the 1960s, chained and put on display together at cattle fairs in India, according to Wildlife SOS, the NGO that rescued Raju and is leading the charge for Mohan's release in conjunction with the Uttar Pradesh Forestry Department. They were eventually purchased by different members of the same family and subjected to "abuse and beatings during their training process," says the organization. They lived and worked together for years - and were chained next to each other at night.
"The fact that they were chained together at only a trunk's length away from one another for so long makes them brothers in pain," said Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS. "While there is no evidence that they are related by blood, the years of abuse they withstood side by side surely must have bonded them. And each was the other's only witness to the suffering and brutality they endured."
According to Wildlife SOS, Mohan is a 56-year-old bull elephant who is suffering extensively from injuries, dehydration and malnourishment. Based on the group's examination of his dung, Mohan is eating plastic for food.
Wildlife SOS says Mohan continues to live as a working elephant and carry heavy loads.
Although last year's plan was to rescue Raju and Mohan in unison, "tragically, Mohan disappeared without a trace during our final rescue operations," the group wrote on its site.
Since then, Wildlife SOS says it has been working to secure Mohan's release, and recently amped up the effort.
The situation has proven to be tense.