Mathura, 2018.03.28 (VT): Rescue attempts are underway to save a bear that was being kept in a small cage and made to dance. On 17th December, an Indian bear trainer tried to take a pair of dancing bears into Nepal, but was captured by police. The bears – Sudevi and Rangila – were sent to a zoo, but Sudevi did not survive. Now a Farah NGO has joined the campaign to have Rangila brought back to India.
Seventeen year old Sudevi died after the bears were entrusted to Kathmandu zoo. The Farah branch of Wildlife SOS is currently campaigning to have nineteen year old Rangila returned to India. The organization is petitioning the Nepali Government for the return of the bear and has contacted the Indian officials including the Minister for Environment.
Bears can live up to 30 years in captivity and are protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Indian sloth bears and Asian Black bears are both considered to be vulnerable to extinction.
Wildlife SOS director, Gita Sheshamani, said that Sudevi died due to not receiving proper medical care at Kathmandu zoo and that Rangila is being kept in a small cage. Wildlife SOS runs a bear sanctuary in Agra and the elephant sanctuary in Farah, Mathura.
After a successful campaign to rehabilitate dancing bears, the illegal practice of keeping dancing bears has been reduced to almost nil. According to the Wildlife SOS website:
As of 1996, research indicated that there were more than 1200 ‘dancing’ bears scattered throughout the country. With cooperation from Government officials, and the help of our partner organizations International Animal Rescue, One Voice, Free The Bears and others, Wildlife SOS has been able to rescue and rehabilitate over 620 dancing bears. They are now living peacefully in four large natural sanctuaries across India, enjoying a life where they’ll never again have to endure such cruelty and pain. In December 2009 the organization rescued what they believed was the last ‘dancing’ bear in India.
Bears playing at one of the organization’s sanctuaries:
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