— -- A group of rescued elephants at a wildlife sanctuary in northern India were given giant sweaters last week to help keep them warm during a cold spell.
Wildlife SOS, a nonprofit wildlife and conservation organization based in India, told ABC News in a news release that staff members designed and created the sweaters for the elephants at its Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura, India.
The center is home to 20 rescued elephants, many of which are "blind, lame and on the mend," Wildlife SOS said. "Rescued from illegal captivity, trafficking mafia, exploited for street begging and circuses where they were abused and subjected to extreme cruelty and decades of suffering, each of these gentle giants have had tragic pasts."
But at the center, "these majestic creatures are adjusting to a life of dignity, freedom and peace, in a place where they can spend their days happily, with frequent baths, a nutritious diet, and good veterinary care," the organization said.
Wildlife SOS' co-founder and CEO, Kartick Satyanarayan, said in the news release that it "is important to keep our elephants protected from the bitter cold during this extreme winter, as they are weak and vulnerable having suffered so much abuse making them susceptible to ailments such as pneumonia."
Satyanarayan noted that the cold "also aggravates their arthritis, which is a common issue that our rescued elephants have to deal with."
Geeta Seshamani, secretary and co-founder of Wildlife SOS added in the news release, "The rescued elephants under rehabilitation at Wildlife SOS have been rescued from shocking circumstances. We aim to provide them with a safe habitat where they can live like elephants."