Elephants are one of the most majestic and beautiful animals on the planet.
They are also one of the most badly abused.
They are enslaved in many countries for entertainment such as rides or circuses, or various forms of manual labor.
But the ugly truth behind these practices is something that is kept a carefully guarded secret.
These animals are captured in the wild and beaten mercilessly into submission so that they can be handled and manipulated.
Some are captured at a young age and trained through brutal means.
Many are forced to endure painful restraints such as spiked shackles on their ankles.
The Animal Welfare Board in India released shocking statistics in 2018 that tell us there are 103 captive elephants in the city of Jaipur alone.
Of these, 20 per cent are blind, 30 per cent are over 50, 45 per cent have had tusks illegally cut, and ALL of them suffer from serious foot conditions.
Sores and infections are inevitable when they are forced to walk on hot pavement and bear illegal loads of tourists.
This is Maya, and Indian elephant who was rescued and brought to this amazing sanctuary for a second chance at life.
WildlifeSOS near Agra, India has been rescuing elephants and other animals from a life of abuse.
They have the first ever jumbo hospital in India where they treat the wounds and health problems that the elephants arrive with.
This sanctuary provides proper nutrition, skilled veterinary care, free time for walking, bathing, and socializing, and a life free from abuse and exploitation.
The elephants cannot be returned to the wild, but this is the next best thing.
The biggest problem in this cycle of abuse is that much of the industry is driven by tourist dollars as people unknowingly pay to ride and pet elephants.
But behind every elephant that poses for our selfies, or allows humans to climb on their backs, is a world of pain and torture.
There are two things that can be done to prevent the suffering.
We can refuse to ride elephants and we can support sanctuaries like this one that are doing things ethically.
At a proper sanctuary, rides and using elephants for amusement do not exist.
Visit WildlifeSOS.Org for more information and consider helping in any way you can.