"We are all very excited and happy," Suvidha Bhatnagar of Wildlife SOS told The Dodo by phone. "It's the greatest news."
Rupak De, Chief Conservator of Forests in Raju's home state of Uttar Pradesh, echoes that sentiment, saying it reaffirms the notion that animals are as deserving of the basic rights of liberty afforded to humans by law.
"The constitution of India speaks of freedom which includes not only people but animals as well," he said. "I am very happy and proud that we are able to afford the provision of constitution in letter and spirit. I am also thankful to the Judiciary for supporting a just cause and saving Raju the elephant. "
But Raju is hardly an isolated case. As Wildlife SOS co-founder Geeta Seshamani points out, there are countless elephants across India enduring cruel treatment every day who are in need of rescue. With this recent ruling, hope for them is buoyed as well.
"This is a huge victory not only for Raju but for every elephant suffering in pain silently," says Seshamani.