Indian circus elephant released from chains after 50 years

Rhea has been rescued by Wildlife SOS and will live in an elephant sanctuary from now on

Freedom Looks Good on Former 50-Year Circus Elephant

After spending more than 50 years performing tricks in a circus in India, Rhea the elephant has finally be rescued - and freedom seems to agree with her.

Workers at Wildlife SOS, a non-profit charity in India, say Rhea was most likely taken from her family at a young age and forced to perform in a circus.

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So while everyone may be all smiles in the photo taken shortly after her rescue, the group also wants to show the 'before' pictures of the elephants in chains.

In a blog post Wildlife SOS writes: "Her feet are in atrocious conditions, with deep, painful cracks running through her swollen soles."

But perhaps the most soul crushing thing of all was when Rhea's two sister elephants were rescued five months ago because they had proper paperwork while Rhea didn't.

Thankfully the rescue group got all of Rhea's documents in order and started her long road to freedom as they drove her to an elephant sanctuary more than 1,300 miles away so she could be reunited with her sisters again.

Along the lengthy drive Rhea had plenty of fresh fruit to munch on and lots of time to stop and stretch her legs, but she looked happiest sprawled out on the ground enjoying her new found freedom.

In a blog post on the group's Facebook page earlier this morning they announced that Rhea had reached her new home and is about to be reunited with Mia and Sita, her elephant friends.

You can find out more about Rhea's rescue and the work Wildlife SOS are doing to save India's circus elephants on their website here.

Pictures of baby elephants

Pictures of baby elephants