Bhopal bear sanctuary
HSI's Director traveled to the bear sanctuary in Bhopal to see the project first hand.
Here is an account of her trip:
I cannot overstate how impressed I was. When you witness the bears that are still performing on the streets and compare it to the lives they are living in the Bhopal sanctuary, the contrast is almost overwhelming.
The rescue facility is designed to provide a natural environment for the rescued bears, with large free ranging areas, dens, water bodies and trees to climb. After clearing through quarantine and medical and dental procedures they can choose to be as free as they like within the large sanctuary, or if still too traumatised they can choose the protection and safety of the dens until they gain the confidence to move into the free range areas.
The pain and suffering they have endured for years is replaced with love and care and a level of freedom that many sanctuaries cannot provide.
The holistic approach Wildlife SOS has taken ensures that not only will they alleviate the suffering of the bears on the streets, they will also stop the cycle of abuse and the continuance of this barbaric practice.
When they confiscate a bear they undertake to train the owner into a new career, of their own choosing. This results in an end to the cycle of poaching cubs from the wild ensuring that the horror of dancing bears will be a thing of the past. They also run very effective programs to preserve sloth bear habitat and conduct regular, successful anti poaching patrols and raids.
The first bear rescued by Wildlife SOS, Rani, came to the facility on the 25th of December, 2001. Now over 180 bears have been rescued and are enjoying their newfound freedom at the Bear Rescue Facility.
In 10 days before Xmas they took on 31 new bears and have now had to establish a second sanctuary to cope with the growing numbers!
There are only around 600 bears still 'dancing' in India today so it is more than conceivable that we can stop this misery by the end of the decade. If funds were unlimited we could stop it by the end of the year.
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