Jasmine the elephant previously had a life of walking in Delhi’s scorching heat amidst loud traffic every day as tourists and residents waited to ride her, with her footpads suffering irreversible damage and her owner endlessly shouting at her. Now, the rescued animal is celebrating one year of freedom after being saved by the government and a wildlife rescue organsiation in India.
In July 2019 the female elephant, previously named Laksmi, had made headlines after the Forest Department claimed that she was missing.
Reportedly, Jasmine, along with her trainer had gone missing after the Indian Forest Department moved in to confiscate and rehabilitate her as per a Delhi High Court order.
Jasmine was one of the six elephants in Delhi, which the High Court had ordered to be seized in 2016 and rehabilitated elsewhere as the Indian capital does not provide a natural habitat to house these animals.
Two months after she went missing, she was traced by forest officials at the Yamuna Khadar area, from where she was saved and her trainer was arrested.
According to media reports, after her rescue, the elephant was given to Wildlife SOS, a non-profit organisation involved in rescuing and rehabilitating animals in distress.
In 2019, the 41-year-old animal was taken to their rehabilitation centre in Haryana, where she was given the name Jasmine.
A statement on the organisation’s website reads: “In September 2019, Wildlife SOS along with the Delhi Forest Department and the Delhi Police changed this, as we rescued her and freed her from this lifetime of servitude. Jasmine’s rescue closed the curtain on begging elephants that were a common sight in Delhi and set an example in making people aware of the glaring abuse that elephants were put through.”
Celebrating her rescue, Twitter user @mouloud707 had shared pictures of Jasmine in 2019 and wrote: "Jasmine, Delhi's last begging elephant, arrived at her new forest home at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Rehabilitation Centre in the picturesque Ban Santour forest of Yamuna Nagar in Haryana. She is already exploring her new surroundings, seems curious and excited."
Jasmine gets a new life
In the past year, Jasmine has started recovering from the distress and physical damage caused to her after living in harsh conditions.
Oftentimes, the elephants that were used by mahouts in Delhi were tortured to be trained and tamed, and kept in poor conditions.
She currently enjoys proper food, hygiene upkeep and medical care at the centre.
“Jasmine has shown remarkable progress under our care. With a fresh diet of sugarcanes, pumpkins and ripe bananas as well as fresh watermelons to devour, she presently weighs 4155 kilograms. Jasmine undergoes regular toenail trimming sessions that are an essential part of her foot care routine, along with relaxing, medicated foot baths of Epsom salt and turmeric that aid the healing of her torn and delicate foot pads,” Wildlife SOS stated in the statement.