In Pakistan over two thousand Asiatic black bears and sloth bears are forced to dance for public entertainment.
Young cubs are stolen by poachers while their mother is away from the den or by killing her when she returns.
This illegal killing and capture of bears is seriously threatening populations in the wild.
Many cubs die from neglect or dehydration before they are sold for training.
HOW ITS DONE
For years sloth bear cubs in India have been poached and tortured through brutal training methods to become “Dancing Bears”, forced to perform for tourists. At less than 4 weeks of age, the cub is stolen from its mother who is often killed while trying to protect her cubs. Sold to traders and middlemen at underground markets, trauma, malnutrition and shock accounts for a mortality rate of more than 50%. The surviving bear cubs are sold to gypsies who will teach them to dance.
At the tender age of 4 months, the cub’s canine teeth are knocked out. A red hot iron needle pierces its muzzle, and a coarse rope is pulled through. The wound is never allowed to heal, and the cub will live in fear, hunger and pain, tied to a stake for the rest of its life.
No anaesthetic is used for this highly painful operation and, to make matters worse, teeth are often removed or broken to prevent injury to the handlers.
Tugging on the rope prevents these fresh wounds healing, and the bears find no relief from raw, painful infections.
The agony goes on, and the bear learns to ‘dance‘ in an attempt to avoid the pain.
STRESS TO THE BEARS
Poor diet has a disastrous effect on the health of dancing bears.
Many suffer from cataracts and go blind due to lack of nutrition.
The trauma of this unnatural life drives many bears mad and they display the repetitive, pacing movements, characteristic of mental damage.
WILDLIFE SOS in India is the foremost authority on this matter and with them overseeing the end of dancing bears in India, the future looks good for these gentle bears.
At the Agra Bear rescue Facility, in Agra India, the shelter sits on 15 acres of land, and there are currently 600 rescued bears living a new life in the sanctuary.
As each rescued bear is brought into the centre, their rope is cut and the wound is treated by the vets. Painkillers and antibiotics are administered, thereby giving much needed relief to the bear. The bear is then housed in a quarantine area where a healthy diet of wheat porridge, seasonal fruits, multigrain baked bread, honey and feed additives provide the bear with a composite scientific diet to bring it to good health. During the quarantine period (minimum 90 days) the bear’s overall health is monitored carefully. The bear is also treated for potential tuberculosis and leptospirosis and vaccinated against rabies.
Once the quarantine period is completed, the bear is moved to a large socialisation pen, where it learns to interact with other bears and to deal with wide open spaces and trees to climb. After this, the bear is then moved to one of 7 enclosures within the sanctuary, to finally enjoy it’s new life of freedom and quality.
Please visit WILDLIFE SOS for more information
Watch this video here to see the surrender of the LAST dancing bear in India!