Mia and Sita had spent their life in chains until they were rescued a few years ago.
Mia spent the first 42 years of her life as a performing elephant in a circus. Her handlers treated her cruelly, often neglecting her needs and forcing her to perform tricks and entertain crowds at the circus. According to Wildlife SOS, they would even beat her and starve her. Fortunately, she, along with another elephant named Sita was rescued by Wildlife SOS in November 2015. The two had spent decades in chains but were rescued and taken to a wildlife sanctuary where they finally have the chance to enjoy a free happy life.
According to Majestic Animals, Wildlife SOS is a rescue and wildlife conservation group in India. After a 1,200 miles journey, Mia and Sita finally arrived at the Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura but they both looked exhausted and sick. However, the first taste of freedom for both was hard to escape. Sita found joy as she stepped into a pool for the very first time in her life. Mia showed her relief by collapsing onto the ground. “While we don’t know when exactly Mia was last allowed to do this, it’s obvious that this is something she has needed to do for a very long time.” the sanctuary pointed out. “Daily rest is essential for an elephant, but very often they are deprived of this necessity when they are chained on the front and back legs. This was the case with Mia!”
It's not easy for animals that have been mistreated for so long to adjust to kindness and empathy right away. At first, Mia found it difficult. Wildlife SOS recalled: It was here that Mia first experienced basic sentiments of kindness and empathy. However, it was not an easy transition for her. Having gone through a lifetime of maltreatment, the elephant was extremely wary of human beings and struggled to adapt to her new surroundings. She would display stereotypic aggressive behaviour, common among elephants rescued from harsh situations such as pacing along her enclosure in discomfort for hours at a stretch and refusing to rest.
But with time, Mia slowly started to accept the help and support she was receiving from the elephant care staff. Both elephants couldn't deny how drastically different their world had become. “They seem so much happier already,” Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said. “It’s almost like they sense they are going to get a happier life where they will not be forced to perform in circuses anymore – a life where their aching and painful joints will get the rest and the care they deserve.” Mia even made a new friend Rhea who was also extricated from that very circus. Sadly, Sita passed away from the injuries she sustained during captivity. Mia and Rhea's bond grows stronger every day.