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After 53 years of being forced to perform in a circus, Rhea the elephant has finally been rescued.

Most likely torn from her family at a very young age, her life as a young elephant was spent “being beaten into submission, punished regularly and deprived of food and water,” according to Wildlife S.O.S. India’s blog.

elephant 1

Like most elephants in the circus, her life was spent in a tiny cage and she was chained, beaten and forced to perform unnatural tricks for those who paid money to watch as she suffered in silence, according to Wildlife S.O.S.

elephant 2

Her only sources of hope were Mia and Sita, two other “sister” elephants facing the same fate, according to the organization. The three elephants formed a bond that allowed them to get through their years of suffering together.

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