Dancing bears 'tradition' to be halted in India29/08/2006 00:00:00
Indian dancing bear facts
Alan Knight, IAR Chief Executive, said: ‘Initially the challenge appeared gigantic, but now, thanks to the support of the Indian Government, we have already succeeded in eradicating the brutal practice of ‘dancing’ bears in large parts of India in a very short space of time. The Indian Government should be very proud of the success of the project and encourage people to support it.’ ‘We now have the experience, the expertise and the infrastructure to step up the campaign and rescue more and more bears. A survey to be published shortly has shown that there are still about 600 dancing bears in India. We have started work on a huge new area of land in Agra to expand the sanctuary which means we have everything in place to banish bears from the streets within the next five years.’
International Animal Rescue is the sole UK funder of the bear sanctuaries in India – 1 in Agra (near the Taj Mahal), 1 in Bannerghatta near Bangalore and 1 in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) as well as a transit facility in Hyderabad. The sanctuaries are managed by Wildlife SOS and have been developed as centres of excellence for the rehabilitation of endangered sloth bears. Pioneering dental work has been carried out on the rescued bears which have had their teeth broken off with hammers by their handlers to make them easier to control. The team even fitted a gold crown on one bear to save its tooth.
The charities are also launching radio telemetry projects to study the complex problem of man/bear conflict that is on the rise in some states in India.
IAR and WSOS have recruited UK celebrities Bill Bailey and Jo Brand to help raise the profile of their work.
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