People Are Knitting These Elephants Sweaters To Keep Them Warm

It's winter in India, and while the southern half of the country might still be enjoying summery temperatures in the 70s and 80s, the northern half of the country suffered a brutal cold snap, with temperatures falling as low as -.5° Celsius. Northern states haven't experienced weather this cold in years, and some cities are even predicting a ground frost. While this is uncomfortable for India's human population, at least they can put on an extra layer to warm up. For the country's bigger inhabitants, the cold presents a much larger problem—and that's why people are knitting giant sweaters for elephants.

The staff at Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center in the city of Mathura have banded together to hand-make these XXXXXXL sweaters for the elephants they care for. Each sweater takes about four weeks to be completed, so the charges without sweaters are making do with large blankets.

According to Wildlife SOS co-founder Kartick Satyanarayan, the center currently cares for 23 elephants. All of the animals have been rescued from wildlife traffickers, abusive circuses and other dangerous circumstances. Some of the elephants who have already suffered physical abuse in their former lives are more sensitive to the cold temperatures, Satyanarayan said in a statement.

“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 told The Dodo.

And like many humans, older elephants can suffer from arthritis, which is aggravated by extremely cold temperatures.

The weather in Mathura is “comparatively sunny during the daytime,” but it gets much colder at night, spokeswoman Arinita Sandilya told The Huffington Post in an email.

According to The Dodo, currently only three of the sanctuary's elephants have their own sweaters since it takes so long to knit them. But the volunteers show no signs of slowing down, and the other elephants should hopefully have their own sweaters by next year.
[h/t: Huffington Post]