The First Rescues of Bears
Christmas 2002, the first sanctuary for bears in India opened its doors at Agra.
The site is managed by the Indian association Wildlife SOS with funding
from international associations. The
sanctuary provides a safe haven for bears rescued from the barbaric practice of
being made to ‘dance’ for the amusement of tourists; a practice which
involves, amongst other things, a cruel piercing of the animal’s muzzle, which,
like a dog’s, is one of the most sensitive areas of its body.
The Kalandars gypsies who, traditionally have earned their livelihoods
performing this practice, are being offered a professional ‘reconversion’ in
the form of alternative employment, in order that they may stop performing this
illegal activity permanently.
operation has the objective of putting an end to the exploitation of bears in
India. Its success has been
unhoped-for. Already a waiting list
has been assembled and the government of the Utta Pradesh province has proposed
new sites in protected areas in order to expand the sanctuary.
mission of One Voice is to inform tourists that by giving money to watch the
bears ‘dance’, they are in fact encouraging this barbaric practice.
One Voice also endeavors to collect funds in order to extend the
sanctuary, pay for the care of the bears and put in place an anti-poaching unit
in the forest.
The rope is removed from the muzzle of Rani, the first bear to be set free after
400 years of ‘tradition’ and 30 years of illegal practices (the Indian law
now forbids the training of bears associated with acts of cruelty and
endangering the species).
goes outside for the first time.
upon her arrival at the sanctuary on the 29th December.
She is only 8 years old but is partially blind; her condition
caused by the poor feeding that she has endured.
The infection in her muzzle is an old one which will necessitate
extensive veterinary treatment.
Surgeon, Dr. Satish, lives permanently at the sanctuary and offers first
aid to Indy.
in the presence of Kalandar who brought her into the sanctuary.
Kalandar will benefit from a professional reconversion proposed by
few moments after being set free, Rani discovers her natural surroundings
in the socialization area of the park.
as early as the second day, Rani chooses to sleep outside rather than in
Raja and Lune (Moon) arrive at the sanctuary on the 28th
view of the sanctuary. In the
foreground, the enclosures and socialization areas of the park.
In the distance, the seven hectares of forest in which the first
fifty bears will soon be released.
a five year-old female bear.
has suffered through having his muzzle pierced three separate times; twice
after he had reached adult-hood. The
absesses and internal wounds will necessitate an operation which will be
performed after he has had time to regain his strength with correct
spotted by our investigator in September (see One of report), has a
serious muzzle infection.