After nine grueling years, an elephant named Mariappan is finally free of the chains that bound him by all four legs so tightly that he could not take a single step in any direction. Mariappan was chained inside a filthy, dark shed at the Arulmigu Mariamman Temple in Samayapuram, India, until a local activist, with the help of PETA India, succeeded in convincing the temple to allow Mariappan to be moved to the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, a spacious sanctuary where he can at last feel grass beneath his feet.
Mariappan chained for years in this temple room.
Finally outside enjoying a bath before traveling to his new home.
Unfortunately, Mariappan is not alone. Many elephants are kept in similarly miserable conditions at temples throughout India. (You may recall reading in The PETA Files about Ram Prasad, a temple elephant who is being helped by Animal Rahat, a relief organization supported by PETA.) Now PETA India and local activists are pressuring the government to free three other elephants who are kept in chains at temples in the Samayapuram area.
Written by Michelle Sherrow