Raju the elephant hasn’t had the easiest of lives.
Years ago, the animal was taken from the wild and sold many different times despite the fact that it is against Indian law to buy, sell, trade, or exploit elephants.
At one point, Raju was under the control of one owner who “tore out all the hair from his tail to sell as good luck charms.”
Eventually, Raju’s plight came to the attention of the non-profit Wildlife SOS India. The organization was determined to free Raju, but even that came with its problems.
According to a spokesperson, Raju’s owners tried to stop the rescue and even “purposely agitated the animal, in order to confuse him and make him hostile to the people who were trying to help him.”
Luckily, the rescue team was able to accomplish their goal.
Once freed and released back in the wild, the animal broke down in tears, perhaps at the sheer joy of finally being able to return to his natural habitat.
Watch the touching videos here: