An elephant named Raju that had been rescued from a life of abuse at a park won its final freedom, after an Indian court ordered the animal be kept with his rescuers instead of returned to his former nightmare home, the Independent reports.
In July, Raju made headlines when his sad condition was revealed on video and word got out that his rescuers noticed tears in the creature’s eyes after it was rescued from 50 years of abuse, malnourishment, and a life in shackles. Raju was in constant pain, had no shelter, and lived off what he could beg from tourists.
With the blessing of a court order, the conservation organization Wildlife SOS rescued Raju on July 4 and took him to its sanctuary grounds. In the months since, the elephant has slowly been able to recover and gain a measure of peace, as the photo above shows.
However, there was still a cloud hanging over Raju’s head. In September, the elephant’s original owners had laid claim to Raju in court, arguing that he was their rightful property and should be returned to them. The court did not agree and ordered Raju to remain with Wildlife SOS.