Indu is 34 years old and a natural leader. She is tall with a comparatively small head and pink pigmentation on the lower part of her trunk. She possesses a regal and proud disposition and her previous difficult life has not dampened her spirits. She loves eating mangoes and showering herself with dust.
During her time in captivity, her feisty nature was mistaken for aggression. Her tall, imposing body and long strides made her seem dangerously fast when she walked, and the mahouts feared her. They used harsh methods to ‘make her docile’. She was given minimal food and kept tied up in the corner of the granite shed. She was always the last to be given food. If the food was not sufficient, she had to go without food.
Indu in Captivity
When Indu first arrived at our sanctuary, she was very wary. She would attempt to swat any new mahout, instinctively fearing punishment. It took her a while to realize that no one would hurt her now, or deprive her of food. Today, at the sanctuary, we try to compensate for the unfair treatment she has suffered by feeding her first.
Indu has responded wonderfully to kindness. She is comfortable with people now and quickly understands commands given with positive reinforcement. Indu gets very worried if Sandhya, our oldest elephant, is not within her sight all the time. When Sandhya reduced her intake of grass due to a loose molar (which eventually fell out after two months), Indu became very protective of her. She does not like to be separated from the other elephants, and stays in constant contact with them by trumpeting or making rumbling noises when they go on their routine walks.
After 27 years in confinement, Indu has reached a safe place she can call home. She loves grazing the new grass and breaking down branches all along her walking pathway. When her caretaker offers her a treat, she bounds towards him, picks up the treat from his hands and always gives a friendly rumble, as if demanding some more.