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

TORONTO, Dec. 22, 2017 /CNW/ – A dramatic rescue of two tortured sloth bears took place overnight in Nepal (19 December) by the Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal, with support from World Animal Protection and Nepali police.

These are the last two known Nepali owned, illegal ‘dancing bears’. Rangila (19 years) and Sridevi (17 years) were sold to their owner to be used as dancing bears – a cruel, outlawed practice where bears are made to ‘dance’ as entertainment for crowds of people.

Bears like Rangila and Sridevi are snatched from their mother at an early age and forced to perform. Their owner pierced their noses with a burning hot rod and shoved a rope through it – to retain control of the large animals. Harsh training methods are used to make them submissive enough to perform for tourists.

With the help of local police, the bears were found in Iharbari, Nepal via mobile phone tracking of their owners. The rescue was emotional for all involved. The bears were in an extremely distressed state; showing signs of psychological trauma such as cowering, pacing and paw sucking.

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

This is not the first time using bears for entertainment has been eradicated in an area and World Animal Protection has a 20-year history of working with local partners to end such cruelty. Seeing an end to bear dancing in Greece, Turkey and India, the NGO is also close to phasing out bear baiting in Pakistan.

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 says:
“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.”

The suffering of bears in Asia is not over. World Animal Protection continues its campaign to protect bears across Asia, working to stop the exploitation of bears used for the horrific blood sport of bear baiting and in the cruel and unnecessary bear bile industry.

Notes to editors:

Launched in 2015, our Wildlife Not Entertainers campaign is moving the wildlife tourism industry away from cruel forms of entertainment, such as elephant rides and shows, towards positive wildlife experiences where tourists can see wild animals in the wild or true sanctuaries.