While we work on ways on saving the planet Earth from humans, there is an immediate need to save animals from humans. For the nth time, a video of a captive elephant being meted out inhuman treatment is making the rounds on social media. Tied next to a tree, the poor elephant is being beaten mercilessly with sticks by two mahouts.

The tragic story of captive elephants

Every now and then, some such story of India's captive elephant surfaces. The hard-core animal lovers vividly remember what happened to Rajeshwari, the 42-year-old temple elephant in India. An animal lover had to go knocking on the court's doors seeking permission to put her down in 2018.

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Poor Rajeshwari led a hard life and died a painful death, ever since she was sold to a temple in Tamil Nadu in 1990. Standing on stone hard floors for long hours to bless devotees was a part of the job profile and so was pouring water for several rituals. She broke her leg after falling from an open truck, later broke her femur too. Rajeshwari spent her last days lying on a patch of sand with her limbs broken.

Last year in March, a 60-year-old elephant named Jamela, had developed deep wounds but his owner continued to abuse the animal by taking her to festivals, processions and functions. It was only after the unsettling images of Jamela with her wounds received the online virality that she was rescued from the owner in Tirunelveli.

elephant jamela

Poor state of affairs of the elephants

Chained elephants being used for rides, ferrying tourists and entertaining crowds at processions and parades is not a rare sight in India. Unfortunately, an elephant being mistreated is no longer a rare post anymore on social media.

Even in the wild, last year, a pregnant elephant died after it accidentally consumed a fire cracker filled fruit. The cracker exploded in the elephant's mouth in the Silent Valley forest and a week later she died in the Velliyar River. The heart rending videos of the 15-year-old elephant called for some serious soul searching.

According to the information received by Tamil Nadu-based animal welfare activist Antony Clement Rubin via an RTI response in November 2019, there are 2,675 captive elephants in India. How many of these captive animals are mistreated to a third degree is anybody's guess.