Bear rescue: We just saved Nepal’s last two ‘dancing bears’

22 December 2017

Working with the Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal and Nepali police, we rescued two tortured sloth bears, Rangila and Sridevi, on Tuesday night (19 December). They’re now on their way to Parsa National Park in Nepal, where they’ll be free from suffering

These two bears are the last known Nepali-owned, illegal ‘dancing bears’. Rangila is a 19-year-old male and Sridevi is a 17-year-old female. They were sold to their owner to be used as dancing bears, and forced to entertain crowds of people. Bear dancing is a cruel and illegal practice.

Film by Andrew Davies - Campaignfilm

Bears like Rangila and Sridevi are snatched from their mothers at an early age and forced to perform.

Painful ropes control the bears

Their owner had pierced their noses with a burning hot rod and shoved a rope through it so he could control them.

Harsh training methods are used on dancing bears to make them submissive enough to perform to tourists.

From horror to safety

With the help of local police, the bears were found in Iharbari, Nepal by tracking the owner’s mobile phone. The rescue was emotional for all involved. The bears were extremely distressed and showed signs of psychological trauma such as cowering, pacing and paw sucking.

Bears Rangira and Sridvei being transported to a wildlife reserve in Nepal

The bears are now on their way to be placed in the temporary care of Parsa National Park in Nepal.

We’re proud to have made such an incredible rescue – this is an incredible way to end 2017.

Nepal’s bear dancing trade is over

This is not the first time an entire country’s use of bears for entertainment has been eradicated.

We have a 20-year history of working with local partners to stop this awfully cruel practice, and have ended it in Greece, Turkey and India. We’re also close to phasing out bear baiting in Pakistan.

Neil D’Cruze, our wildlife expert, said: "Rangira and Sridvei have suffered for too long in captivity since they were poached from the wild."

Manoj Gautam, Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal, said: "We are thrilled that the last two known Nepali dancing bears have been rescued from their lifetime of suffering."

Our work protecting bears is not done

The suffering of bears in Asia is still not over. We work to end the exploitation of bears used for the horrific blood sport of bear-baiting.

We’re also working to end the cruel and unnecessary bear bile industry, in which approximately 22,000 Asiatic black bears are stuck in tiny cages. These captive animals have permanent holes in their stomach and are constantly milked for their bile.

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