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Better grab a tissue.

Meet Raju the elephant. He’s spent the last 50 years of his life shackled in spiked chains in India. Every time the poor guy moved around, the spikes would cut into his skin.

“Pain and brutality were all he knew. His cruel handler even tore out all the hair from his tail to sell as good luck charms,” Wildlife SOS India co-founder Geeta Seshamani said in a statement. “The exploitation and abuse just had to stop.”

And luckily, it did.

After the organization received a tip about Raju last year, it immediately sent in an undercover team to monitor the elephant and apply for the necessary permits to rescue him. But when they were finally ready to swoop in, the owner became desperate. Wildlife SOS says he enlisted the help of “hooligans” to agitate the animal and make him hostile to the rescuers.

About 30 police officers then became involved in the operation, along with a team of elephant conservation workers. Raju struggled and resisted their efforts at first, but that’s when something remarkable happened:

“At about 3 (a.m.) in the morning, when we’d worked the whole night through, he then suddenly calmed down, and he realized that we were not there to harm him,” Satyanaryan said. “And then we saw this water coming down his cheeks from his eyes.”

Raju started to realize that these people were helping him, and began to relax. The rescue team reports that he became very cooperative, and simply walked into a truck when they guided him to one.

The elephant was then transported to a chain-free Elephant Conservation and Care Center, where he’s sure to live the rest of his life in peace.

Now that’s definitely something worth crying about.

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