Lonely Planet Writer

Rescue elephants in India get special sweaters to keep them warm for winter

Rescue elephants in India are keeping warm and safe from the freezing temperatures with beautifully embroidered sweaters.

Suzy, the elephant sports one of the colourful elephant jumpers.
Suzy, the elephant sports one of the colourful elephant jumpers. Image by Roger Allen

The elephants live in the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in the city of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. All 20 elephants at the centre were rescued from captivity at the hands of abusers. The elephant sweaters are handmade by local villagers and they’re not just swathes of fabric either; they’re brightly coloured knits with beautiful patterns.

 Phoolkali and Laxmi (left) watch while the final touches are completed.
Phoolkali and Laxmi (left) watch while the final touches are completed. Image by Roger Allen

Northern India is currently undergoing a cold snap of weather and this can cause many problems for the recovering elephants. Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS told the Times of India that ‘It is important to keep our elephants protected from the bitter cold during this extreme winter.’

 Phoolkali and Laxmi are fitted with their elephant sweaters.
Phoolkali and Laxmi are fitted with their elephant sweaters. Image by Roger Allen

‘They are weak and vulnerable having suffered so much abuse making them susceptible to ailments such as pneumonia. The cold also aggravates their arthritis which is a common issue that our rescued elephants have to deal with.’

Suzy, (front) Phoolkali and Laxmi (rear) show off their new clothes.
Suzy, (front) Phoolkali and Laxmi (rear) show off their new clothes. Image by Roger Allen

These new elephant sweaters cover their body and and legs, protecting them from the freezing temperatures, particularly at night.

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