Aneesha's Long Walk
Animal Stories from


Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre and Help Animals India
June 2015

Aneesha rescued elephant
What life is like and what timber working elephants are made to do

Aneesha was a logging camp elephant in Kerala. Past injuries inflicted on her forelimbs, either intentionally or by accident, caused a serious disability. The stilted , stiff and laborious walking style that she has now is presumably due to this tragic event in her past.

Work as a timber elephant is one of the hazardous amongst all the work and labor that captive elephants are put to. The elephants used in this industry are part of an unorganized illegal circle. Owners use them for pushing and pulling heavy logs on private estates and private timber yards and often they are smuggled across interstate borders to work at clearing coffee, cardamom and other estates located in difficult mountainous terrain. They are often the most abused category of elephants in captivity.

Aneesha rescued elephant

Aneesha’s acquisition, her sale, resale and relocation to different environment and custodians, left her exploited in spite of her handicap, abused and stressed. Pitying her condition, her last custodian handed her to us for rest and treatment.

This, of course, was preceded by a lot of groundwork, trips to ascertain the extent of her damaged limbs and work at getting the necessary permissions for her housing and care.

Suitable space was offered by a large hearted landowner where Aneesha is currently and her proposed companion, in the future, can be housed. This place was a natural choice as it had a perennial lake, and the total absence of wild elephants which is a rarity in Karnataka!

Aneesha rescued elephant

Aneesha rescued elephant

The latter was very important because in her current condition Aneesha wouldn’t be able to match up to an encounter with any wild elephants, even it were a suitor who had come calling.

On December 24, 2014, to our delight, the permissions from the forest department were received. It was literally a Christmas gift for Aneesha. Once the formalities with the Department and the landowner were over, the land was prepared and simple, practical shelter (in accordance with CZA guidelines) along with Mahout (handler) quarters, a store room and an office were constructed. The property was also closed off with a solar fence, more to keep stray cattle and people out than to keep her in.

On May 8th, Aneesha, accompanied by Team WRRC and others set out from the confines of her small temple town in Tamil Nadu to her journey to a better and freer life ( she can never be totally free, much as we would have wanted for her ). Many tense moments but with help from the authorities and police to ensure that Aneesha reached the WRRC Care Facility, she finally took her first steps into a life of care and love.

This journey wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Tree Foundation, Help Animals India, CUPA (US) and the numerous well wishers who donated from their hearts to help us bring her home. We look forward to your continued help to enable us to look after her and nurse her back to health.

We do not want to stop here, we want to bring in a companion for Aneesha, so that she isn’t bored and we will not be able to do that without your help. Please help us by donating!

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