A 50-year-old elephant is released from captivity and a panda celebrates her first birthday


Like people, animals cry and celebrate their first birthdays too.

Meet Raju. He shed tears of joy upon learning that his almost half-a-century ordeal of begging tourists for food and being shackled on spiked chains would come to an end.

Raju is an elephant held in captivity for 50 years. He lived a life of beating and abuse, pain and hunger. He ate tourist handouts for meals, and, in times of desperate hunger, on paper and plastic scattered around the streets of Uttar Pradesh in India.

The overnight rescue mission was made possible by veterinary and wildlife experts from Wildlife SOS-UK, Forestry Commission officers, and some members of the police department last July 4.

“Raju was in chains 24 hours a day, an act of ­intolerable cruelty. The team was astounded to see tears roll down his face during the rescue,” Wildlife SOS-UK’s Pooja Binepal told the Mirror.


Screencap from Wildlife SOS video


Raju is now in isolation so he can receive medical attention. After that, he can finally explore the world without chains.

On the other hand, Yuan Zai, the first Taiwan-born panda cub celebrated her first birthday last July 6, accompanied by around 3,000 parents and children.


Yuan Zai on 27 September 2013 (Wikimedia Commons/


She and her mother Yuan Yuan devoured a birthday cake made out of carrots, bamboo, apples, and pineapples. After that, they played Zhua Zhou, a traditional card game for one-year-old kids, where the first card to be picked indicates a future career path or interest. Yuan Zai picked the artist card.

Yuan Zai made her public debut in the Taipei Zoo last January.