09/17/2013 05:14 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Lakshmi The Elephant Recovers At Sanctuary In India After Rescue From Cruel Owners

An 18-year-old elephant rescued after being maltreated by her owners in India is now recovering at an animal sanctuary, where her health has improved and she's even made friends.

Lakshmi's new home, the Elephant Rescue and Intensive Care Centre at the Wildlife SOS sanctuary in northern India, tweeted some photos of her getting used to her new digs:

Her previous owners allegedly fed her an unhealthy diet of artificial sweets and oily snacks, and they neglected to provide her with appropriate shelter. Now, it seems, Lakshmi is enjoying her new habitat.

Lakshmi has even made friends with two other elephants, and she "enjoys sharing her time with them in the open pool and at the pond," Wildlife SOS writes.

Lakshmi was rescued in mid-July in a grueling 11-hour operation executed by Forest Department of Maharashtra staff, in cooperation with police and Wildlife SOS. The recovering elephant, who had been used by her owners for begging and was obese as a result of her poor diet, had to be lifted by a crane onto the rescue truck:

During the trip from the Mumbai suburbs to her sanctuary in northern India, Lakshmi reportedly amused herself by playing with her driver (who reportedly wasn't as amused as she was):

Lakshmi's previous owners, who bought her at an animal fair in 2005, had tried to hide her after their ownership papers were canceled by officials, the Mumbai Mirror reported. She was eventually located after a two-day search and was found to be suffering from joint pain and a skin disease.

Now that her health is improving, her caretakers say she loves eating so much that she doesn't like it when the other elephants even look at her food!

Sounds like someone needs to learn how to share.

lakshmi elephant india

This photo shows Lakshmi two months after her rescue. Her caretakers say she is "playful." (photo: Wildlife SOS)

Lakshmi emerges from a swim at her new home at the Wildlife SOS sanctuary in northern India.



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