Date of Birth: approx. 1955
Species: Indian Elephant
Where Now: Wildlife SOS India, The Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura
Sobriquet: Former “ Begging Elephant “ known as Lakhi the Blind Elephant
Lakhi the elephant’s 870 mile (1400km) journey to freedom began almost a year ago when Wildlife SOS of India came to her rescue and after enduring the ride in an open top truck she finally found peace at her new home. As written on their blog, Wildlife SOS explained: It was a “long journey to get there, but it’s nothing compared to the hardships she has already faced”.
Lakhi was 60 years old and had grown accustomed to the life, not of an elephant, but of a wantonly mistreated performer; her owners using her to “beg in Indian towns and temples” for her keep. She had endured beatings so severe that signs of injury were apparent “all over her body”. Eventually Lakhi was blinded in both eyes after continual prodding by the ankush or bullhook.
‘She’ll respond to that’, her owners told themselves, as they knew each jab into the most sensitive areas of her worn and weary body would provoke a demanded action, or else the rounds of abuse would begin again.
With “spiked chains” cutting into her ankles, used to block any thought in her elephant mind of even considering an escape, Lakhi was rarely allowed to rest and never allowed to eat proper elephant food. And plodding along for ages on “tar roads” had taken a toll on Lakhi’s feet. At this point, it was a wonder that our elephant Lakhi was even alive.
If not for Wildlife SOS India’s intervention, i.e. obtaining a court order for her rescue, reported Lydia Wilgress for The Daily Mail , Lakhi couldn’t possibly have carried on. Why, most of our elephants in her situation, either collapse , or just lay down and die.
As Lakhi has been taken under Wildlife SOS of India’s wing photos of her on Facebook show a happy elephant who is now guided by her new elephant family including Peanut one of the sanctuary’s baby elephants. Lakhi now has wondrous days at Wildlife SOS’s Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura, gobbling her favorite treats of fresh fruit and especially bananas which take her back to the day of her rescue.
While her former owners may have tried to break Lakhi down in many ways (including her sweet elephant spirit) on that day Lakhi was not shy at all. When she smelled the distinctive scent of bananas in her rescuers pocket (he had nodded off while in the truck with this “smart elephant”), she just reached out with her trunk and nabbed them! (At the start of her journey a plethora of tree branches was offered and down the road other delicious food also awaited her.)
Although nursing a blind and broken elephant like Lakhi will take a considerable amount of time and the skills of Wildlife SOS’ veterinarians (“ophthalmologic experts from the UK will soon explore the possibility of restoring vision in at least one of Lakhi’s eyes”) this pachyderm is so worth it.
This is why we must continue to financially support organizations like Wildlife SOS India for their bold efforts to help and rescue our elephants, at any cost, no matter what it takes.
For information on how to Adopt Lakhi click here
Photo credits: Wildlife SOS India
Donate to Wildlife SOS to support their elephant conservation program.
Elephant conservation rocks!