Mohan is nicknamed "The unluckiest elephant in the world".After a bitter struggle plagued by deception and curveballs, he was finally free. For 50 years, he had been bound in chains and kept prisoner, according to the Times of India.
The worrying state Mohan was in was reported for the very first time to the association Wildlife S.O.S India in 2014 in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Mohan, an Asian elephant, was cruelly taken out of his natural habitat in the 1960s to be sold in a livestock market and used as a work animal.He worked long days and spent every single night chained up. He never received attention or any care.Mohan wasn't completely alone during all these years. He had Raju, another elephant who had also been removed from his family and home to serve humans' interests. But Raju was luckier than his miserable friend. In 2014 he was saved and freed from his chains by Wildlife S.O.S India, and he cried tears of joy, touching hearts all over the world.
Mohan was supposed to be set free from his abuse around the same time as Raju, but alas, things didn't work out as planned.Mohan was nowhere to be found, so the volunteers left without him. But they refused to give up fighting for him and entered into a long, exhausting power struggle with the Mohan's owner.The owner lost the battle and was forced to hand Mohan over. In March 2015, ten volunteers from the association went back to where he was being held, accompanied by the police and forest rangers, Mohan's freedom being the only thing on their minds.But they were stopped by almost 300 people, which forced them to leave the poor animal to his sad fate a second time.
A long legal battle ensued. The owner made a plea to attempt to regain custody of Mohan.Each time, there were more and more delays: the judge orders yet another veterinary examination, the lawyers have an accident, a local politician is opposed to the court's decision...No less than 18 legal proceedings, one after the other, and in the meantime, a petition has already gained more than 200,000 signatures for Mohan's freedom.At lastfreedom is within reach for Mohan. After an operation of nearly 20 hours as well as numerous incidents provoked by a mad crowd, the poor elephant was removed from his chains in July 2016.A medical checkup confirms the extremely poor condition of Mohan's health - he had been malnourished for years and had suffered injuries from repeated whipping.
Even today, Mohan can't rest peacefully. The battle is still going on. Even if he is free from his life of slavery, he is still not staying with Wildlife S.O.S, but has rather been placed in the care of the Minister of Forestry of the State of Uttar Pradesh. His old owner is still trying to get him back. John Pecorelli from the association Wildlife S.O.S told The Dodo:
They're taking care of him and we have our mahouts working with him. We still want Mohan at our sanctuary so we still have a couple more court battles to go. So while this is a really nice victory, the war is not over. We still have a long ways to go.
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife S.O.S, hopes to see a turn for the better towards ending captivity for elephants illegally held in India, of which there are still too many.
In the meantime, Mohan is enjoying the freedom he has for so long been denied.