In Mathura, India, kind-hearted villagers and animal lovers are weaving colorful sweaters (calling them jumbo jackets) for elephants at the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre, a project of Wildlife SOS 30 miles north of Agra city. As temperatures in north India drop dramatically during this month, the garments will keep warm the rescued elephants, which suffer from blindness, disabilities, or other conditions caused by their abusers’ appalling treatment.
Wildlife SOS was founded in 2010 in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department to rescue elephants from trafficking and illegal captivity. These elephants were captured and forced to street beg and work in cruel circuses where they were subjected to outrageous maltreatment and injury. According to The Times of India, the Centre currently houses 20 elephants and has a plan to rescue a further 50 elephants in this year, with hopes to secure more land to expand the reservation capacity. Wildlife SOS also runs an Elephant Rehabilitation Centre in Haryana, a state in north India, which currently accommodates 3 elephants.
Wildlife SOS states on its website that the Centre is full of natural vegetation, making it closest to a natural habitation of the elephants. There are open fields for elephants to take daily walks in and several trees for them to scratch themselves against. Pools have been provided for the elephants to shower and play in the water.
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said as the temperatures were approaching sub-zero at night, the Centre decided to protect the elephants from the cold. “It is important to keep our elephants protected from the bitter cold during this extreme winter, as they are weak and vulnerable having suffered so much abuse making them susceptible to ailments such as pneumonia,” Kartick told The Times of India, adding that “the cold also aggravates their arthritis which is a common issue that our rescued elephants have to deal with.”
“The rescued elephants under rehabilitation at Wildlife SOS have been rescued from shocking circumstances. We aim to provide them with a safe habitat where they can live like elephants,” secretary and co-founder of Wildlife SOS Geeta Seshamani said to The Times of India. “We aim to provide them with a safe habitat where they can live like elephants.”
Thanks to the care and treatment of committed veterinarians and elephant care staff at Wildlife SOS, the elephants are adjusting to a life of dignity, freedom, and peace in a sanctuary where they can enjoy their days happily, with frequent showers, a nutritious diet, and good veterinary care.
“Reading this has brightened my day. Kindness has such an effect. Also, beautiful jumpers,” said Sqwky, a netizen commenting on The Independent website. Another netizen, Ann Hutchinson, commented: “this news has made me so happy. I’d sort of decided there were no good people around any more, glad I’m wrong.”