Animals captured and used for entertainment in circuses equals animal cruelty. It doesn’t matter if some circuses treat their animals with respect and train them with positive reinforcement. They should be left in the wild, where they belong. Take these three elephants, for example. Rhea, Mia, and Sita didn’t live in a good place. They belonged to a circus and they were chained…

But animal conservationists with the ‘Wildlife SOS’ and a sanctuary in Mathura, Northern India, stepped in and saved these old ladies’ lives! When Rhea sees her longtime friends, people were in tears!

20. Side By Side…

When conservationists arrived at the circus, Rhea, Mia, and Sita were sitting ‘side-by-side on their shed’s cemented ground, legs restrained painfully’… It was a horrible image, wrote a post on Wildlife SOS website.

19. A Pitiable Figure

These three ‘elderly female elephants cut a pitiable figure’, continued the story of Rhea, Mia, and Sita. But they would soon get a new and better life at a sanctuary in Northern India. Unfortunately, Rhea was left behind…

18. Saving Mia and Sita

The conservationists could only get the paperwork in time to save Mia and Sita. Their health was in critical condition and needed to get faster to the rescue center and start rehabilitation. Rhea had to wait a few months.

17. A Painful Decision

In a post wrote by Wildlife SOS, they said ‘we had to take one of our most painful decisions, to leave behind their sister, to provide Mia and Sita the immediate veterinary care they needed’. It was heartbreaking.

16. We’re Going to Get You

‘It broke our hearts to leave Rhea behind, but we always knew we’d come back for her, and fight with all our strength to get her freed too,’ wrote Wildlife SOS. Rhea’s story was as gut-wrenching as her sisters’…

15. Poaching and Torturing

Rhea was just a baby calf when she was poached and sold to the circus. She lived 53 years, being beaten, chained and starved, all to learn and perform tricks for people’s entertainment. The vets saw it all in her injuries!

14. Spending Years in Captivity

Rhea, Mia, and Sita were living in confined space, ‘restricted by heavy chains and tight ropes that dug painfully into’ their legs. Rhea’s feet had ‘deep painful cracks running through her swollen soles’…

13. Years of Neglect

‘She walks awkwardly, with a slight limp,’ wrote Wildlife SOS about Rhea. She had a gaunt frame and at this advanced age, her health was very important. Bot for Rhea, the most important thing was to see her friends again.

12. The Love of a Herd

Rhea would see her longtime friends and her health should improve next to them. After a few months since she remained behind at the circus, the elephant ambulance came to take her…

11. Going Home

‘Rhea has been loaded onto our elephant ambulance, and is on her way to be reunited with her “sisters” Mia and Sita at our rescue center!’, happily announced the team with the Wildlife SOS.

10. A Long Journey

Her chains were removed, the team gave her a bath, ‘and filled her tummy with coconuts, watermelons, and bananas (her favorite!)’. She had plenty of food and water in the truck and was headed to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre.

9. The Vets Checked on Them First

Before being released in the sanctuary, Mia, Sita and then Rhea received high standard veterinary care to make sure that the elephants will live the rest of their lives healthy and peacefully. Then Rhea saw her friends again…

8. Her Source of Comfort

The only thing that helped these elephants go on with their lives in the circus was the company they had. Rhea shared her life with Sita and Mia and bonded over the decades. Even though they’re not sisters, it’s a strong relationship.

7. Traveling for 2,800km

Rhea finally gets to meet her friends after spending a lot of time on her way to the new home in Mathura. But then she was greeted by her best friends. You won’t believe how the three elephants reacted!

6. Holding Trunks

Wildlife SOS co-founder Kartick Satyanarayan said: ‘It was fantastic to witness natural elephant behavior and hear the vocalizations of the elephants as they greeted each other.’ They held their trunks and everyone was in tears!

5. Gentle Giants

Kartick said that the moment they witnessed overwhelmed everyone around the three ‘gentle giants’ who were now ‘back together as a family’. They would now live a better life…

4. A Free Life

The three elephants are now free to enjoy playing in the rain, walking and meeting new elephants. And that’s not everything! Mia, Sita, and Rhea were initially cautious around people.

3. Comfortable Around the Staff

Mia, Sita, and Rhea now love the staff at the center and they’re no longer fearful of humans. ‘Mia and Sita’s wounds will slowly heal and leave few visible reminders of their painful pasts’, wrote a Wildlife SOS post.

2. A Toll on Psychological Health

Decades of torture brought by the hands of humans definitely took a toll on the three elephant’s behavior. But now they’re treated with respect and care. This is what the center aims to achieve…

1. Saving Wildlife in India

‘We’re committed to helping them learn to trust people again’, said the conservationists with the rescue center. If you want to see more stories about them, check the official website of the rescue center:

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