By Julia Lynn Rubin [Admin note: This is an update to this story.\
Laxmi (alternatively spelled Lakshmi), an 18-year old elephant suffering from obesity and a variety of ailments due to mistreatment, is now adjusting well to her new home at an elephant sanctuary in northern India after a grueling, 11-hour long moving process, the Hufftington Post reports.
Her previous owners used her for begging and kept her in poor conditions in Mumbai and Thane, according to the Mumbai Mirror, feeding her a diet of oily foods and artificial sweets. Her 58-year old companion, Bilji, died in pain from complications due to obesity and malnutrition on June 30, prompting officials to cancel the ownership of the mistreated elephants and give custody of Laxmi to the forest department.
"Bijli suffered because of a poor diet, which made her obese," Dr. Yaduraj of Wildlife SOS, one of the country's largest animal rescue and conservation organizations, told the Mumbai Mirror. "Being overworked ruined her joints to the extent that she could barely stand. She died in agony. Laxmi is also at risk, but we can rehabilitate her at our facility, Elephant Haven."
An elephant expert who examined Laxmi discovered that she was not only obese, but suffered from severe joint pain, skin diseases and acute arthritis.
Thus began the grueling, 11-hour moving operation to transport Laxmi to her new home at the Elephant Rescue and Intensive Care Centre at the Wildlife SOS sanctuary in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. Forest Department of Maharashtra staff, in cooperation with police and Wildlife SOS, used cranes and 20 strong rescue workers to lift the massive elephant into her moving truck. Before the long journey, a Wildlife SOS gave Laxmi a mild sedative to help calm her down for the trip. More....