Bollywood industry and cricketers have come together to support the rescue of Suman, a 6-year-old baby elephant allegedly being held illegally in Jaipur. Wildlife SOS, an India-based wildlife conservation charity, has launched a global campaign to raise awareness on illegal elephant trafficking in India and to bring attention to Suman’s plight.
“Suman’s owners have isolated her from her family and are keeping her chained in a small, dank room for ‘training’ using brutal techniques — in effect, day-by-day, her spirit is being broken. Suman is the biological sister of 8-year-old Peanut, who was rescued from the Moonlight Circus by Wildlife SOS in 2015. Currently, their father, the male tusker Bijli, is being rented out in festivals, weddings and processions, and mother Chanda is used for rides at the Amer Fort in Jaipur as well as for breeding,” noted a release issued by Wildlife SOS.
Within 72 hours of the launch of the campaign, the Wildlife SOS-run petition garnered over 50,000 signatories.
Actor Sidharth Malhotra, who recently visited the the NGO’s Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, tweeted: “Suman, a 6-year-old baby elephant, was torn away from her family and is being abused and held illegally in captivity in Jaipur! This is unacceptable and inhuman.”
Other Bollywood A-list celebrities such as Karan Johar, Tiger Shroff, Vivek Oberoi, Pulkit Samrat, Anushka Manchanda, Ramona Arena and Harshvardhan Rane joined in by posting on their respective social media accounts. Indian cricketers Yusuf Pathan, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Harbajan Singh and wife Geeta Basra, also supported the Wildlife SOS campaign. The hashtag #SaveSuman began trending on Twitter.
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “We are grateful to all the celebrities who have expressed their support and have drawn attention to Suman’s plight. It is heart-warming to see the celebrities using their influential status to bring about a change in our social attitudes. The exploitation of elephants for labour and human entertainment is a monumental problem.”