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Nepal’s last two known illegal ‘dancing bears’ have been rescued by the Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal, with support from World Animal Protection [WAP] and Nepali police.
Rangila, a 19-year-old male and Sridevi, a 17-year-old female, were sold to their owner for this cruel, outlawed practice where bears are made to ‘dance’ as entertainment for crowds of people.
WAP describes this as ‘torture’.
According to WAP: “Bears like Rangila and Sridevi are snatched from their mother at an early age and forced to perform.
“Their ‘owner’ had pierced their nose with a burning hot rod and shoved a rope through it – to retain control of the large animals.
“Harsh training methods are then used to make the bears submissive enough to perform to tourists.”
The bears were found in Iharbari, Nepal with the help of local police.
Agencies used mobile phone tracking of the animals’ ‘owners’.
According to WAP, the rescue was ’emotional for all involved’.
The bears – who were in an extremely distressed state, showing signs of psychological trauma such as cowering, pacing and paw sucking – are now on their way to be placed in the temporary care of Amlekhgunj Forest and Wildlife Reserve.
Neil D’Cruze, World Animal Protection, said: “Rangila and Sridevi have suffered for too long in captivity since they were poached from the wild.
“It’s extremely distressing to see animals being stolen from the wild and the sad reality is there are more wild animals suffering across the world, purely for the entertainment of tourists.
“I am pleased that for these two sloth bears at least; a happy ending is finally in sight.”
Manoj Gautam, Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal, added: “We are thrilled that the last two known Nepali dancing bears have been rescued from their lifetime of suffering.
“After a year of tracking them, using our own intelligence and in cooperation with local police, our hard effort and dedication has helped to bring an end to this illegal tradition in Nepal.”
According to WAP, while this is good news, there is still work to do.
The organization says: “Bears continue to suffer across Asia.
“World Animal Protection will continue its campaign to protect bears, particularly from the horrific blood sport of bear-baiting and the cruel and unnecessary bear bile industry.
“In this horrific industry, approximately 22,000 Asiatic black bears are stuck in tiny cages, with permanent holes in their stomach to be constantly milked for their bile.
“Their bile and gallbladders are dried, powdered, and sold as panacea to be used as ‘traditional medicine’.”