10/07/2014 05:55 BST | Updated 10/07/2014 06:59 BST

Elephant Raju Who Wept With Gratitude After 50 Years In Shackles Enjoys First Week Of Freedom (PICTURES)

It was hard not to be moved by the sight of a noble elephant apparently weeping with gratitude as he was released from the chains that had bound him for half a century.

And happily, we can now bring you images of Raju enjoying his first week of freedom.

The elephant, who was beaten, abused and forced to live on handouts from passing tourists on the streets of India, now has a new lease of life, thanks to north London-based charity Wildlife SOS.

raju crying elephant

On the road to recovery: After 50 years in chains, Raju stretches his legs

After a rescue which was a year in the making, Raju is now recovering from his ordeal at the charity’s Elephant Conservation and Care Centre at Mathura.

He’s been fed, watered, introduced to other elephants at the sanctuary - including another rescued "begging elephant" named Phoolkali - and is having his wounds treated by carers.

Writing on its Facebook page, Wildlife SOS said: “Great things happen when we work together.”

In pictures: Raju's rescue (scroll down for pictures of his recovery)

Photo gallery Raju the elephant See Gallery


“More than anything, now it’s time for Raju to just rest after 50 years, he deserves it.

“Raju’s body is covered in abscesses and wounds from beatings he received from the chains. Treatment has begun.”

You can help support Raju’s recovery here. And read about Raju’s remarkable rescue here.

Photo gallery Raju the elephant See Gallery