On September 25, three retired captive elephants living in the Marakkanam elephant care facility in Tamil Nadu were forcefully relocated by Forest Department officials, The News Minute reported. A video of the elephants being beaten during the process have gone viral on social media.

The elephants had been living at the Kanchi Mutt for the last three-and-a-half years, but a court judgment on September 19 asked for them to be shifted to the MR Palayam elephant rehabilitation centre in Trichy, the report added.

The six elephant handlers brought in from the Topslip Annamalai Tiger Reserve in Pollachi used force to shift the animals to trucks for transportation when the elephants reportedly refused to cooperate.

“They were using bullhooks (a banned tool otherwise called elephant goad) and sticks to thrash the animals,” The News Minute quoted a source as saying. “The elephants were bleeding after the mahouts hit them. In the end, the youngest one – 21-year-old Jayanthi – was finally moved using a JCB.”