One Year of Freedom for Mia & Sita; Rescued Circus elephants celebrate One Year Anniversary at Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center.

After spending nearly five decades in captivity, circus elephants Mia & Sita had lost all hope of a life away from cruelty and abuse. A year ago, wildlife conservation NGO Wildlife SOS successfully rescued the two pachyderms, who are now living a life of freedom at the Elephant Conservation & Care Centre, Mathura.

Sita munching on green fodder while getting a medicated foot soak for her sore feetSita munching on green fodder while getting a medicated foot soak for her sore feet

Mia & Sita enjoying a peacful morning at the centerMia & Sita enjoying a peacful morning at the center

Sita & Mia's arrival at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation & Care CenterSita & Mia's arrival at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation & Care Center

Sita, Mia & Rhea kept in chains during their time at the circusSita, Mia & Rhea kept in chains during their time at the circus

Agra, Uttar Pradesh, November 28, 2016 /India PRwire/ -- In November 2015, Wildlife SOS rescued two performing elephants Mia and Sita from a circus in Tamil Nadu. Years of overwork, abuse and neglect had left them with severe psychological trauma as well as physiological ailments such as swollen limbs, cracked toenails and painfully damaged footpads and cuticles with severe toe nail abscesses.

Forced to perform unnatural tricks for the amusement of a circus audience, the elephants were starved and brutally beaten into submission as part of their indoctrination into the circus. When they were not performing, they were kept restrained by tight ropes and spiked chains around their limbs, their feet immersed in their own filth and grime, with no access to clean drinking water.

Sita, the older of the two, is 56 years old and her pitiable condition was testament to her years of mishandling and improper care. Besides a painful, fused joint in her right forelimb, as a result of a fracture that was never given a chance to heal, Sita had cracked toenails and damaged footpads with multiple abscesses, resulting in an abnormal gait. Because of these problems, she had not been able to lie down and rest properly in more than a year. 42-year-old Mia had painful swellings in both hind limbs, as well as abscesses in her toenails - all of which contributed to making her gait severely abnormal.

Under the constant care and treatment provided by the Wildlife SOS veterinarians and elephant keepers, Mia & Sita's wounds are slowly healing but there is a long way to go. While their poor health condition will take a long time to heal, it is a consolation that they have been able to enjoy their freedom along with other elephants at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre.

Wildlife SOS veterinarian Dr. Gochalan said, "The terrible abuse faced by both elephants had a detrimental effect on their health, but Sita's injuries were far more severe. As part of their on-going treatment, they are getting relaxing medicated footbaths every day, which not only helps ease the pain but also disinfects the wounds on their feet. Their cracked and overgrown nails are also trimmed and treated regularly."

Geeta Seshamani, co-founder Wildlife SOS said "It is truly heart-warming to see the inseparable bond the two lovely girls share with each other. The patience and dedicated care of our team of veterinarians has resulted in a remarkable change in their physical condition, however, the toe nail abscess that Sita is enduring is quite severe and has taken a severe toll on her health. Their psychological recovery will also take a long time, but we are committed to helping them overcome these problems one step at a time. A huge part of their psychological recovery involves interaction with other elephants. A recent highlight of their retired here being their heartwarming reunion with their third companion from the circus, Rhea, following her rescue in April of this year."

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said, "As we celebrate Mia and Sita's first rescue anniversary, we are delighted to witness their amazing journey of recovery over the course of one year. Despite the ban on animal performances in circuses, elephants are forced to perform illegally, and continue to be beaten or they are kept chained up and endure poor care. In 2015, Wildlife SOS launched a campaign to rescue the remaining 67 circus elephants in India and since then, we have rescued eleven circus elephants that are under lifetime care at our centre."

Notes to Editor

About Wildlife SOS

A Non-Profit Organization, Wildlife SOS is one of the largest rescue & conservation charities in South Asia. They operate ten wildlife rehabilitation facilities across India, including the world's largest Sloth Bear Rescue Centre and two Elephant Care Centres, with 23 rescued elephants under their care. Wildlife SOS runs tribal rehabilitation projects that aim to create alternative livelihoods for poachers and other indigenous communities that used to exploit wildlife for livelihoods. Additionally, they run a leopard rescue centre, a Wildlife Hotline in New Delhi and 'Forest Watch' which is an anti-poaching wildlife crime enforcement unit.

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