Champions of India’s spectacular but declining wildlife to visit Australia
Kartick, Geeta and their organization Wildlife S.O.S. are perhaps most famous for rescuing and rehabilitating ‘dancing’ bears at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility. After being taken from their mothers and the wild and forced to perform in the streets of India, the Sloth Bears suffer unimaginable cruelties. The Rescue Facility is situated near the famed Taj Mahal on the Agra-Delhi Highway. The Rescue Facility is designed to provide near-natural environments for the rescued bears, with large free-ranging areas, dens, water bodies, trees to climb, and scientifically designed enclosure enhancements.
The first rescued bear – `Rani’ – came to the facility on December 2001, and since that time over 200 Sloth Bears (a threatened species) have been rescued from bear dancers, poachers and traders. Kartick has many amazing stories to tell of his life in India – assisting police in confronting criminal poachers, dealing with illegal snake charmers and once even shot in the leg rescuing an escaped leopard!
Now a major new campaign is about to be undertaken by Kartick, Geeta and Wildlife SOS to help India’s street elephants.
There are many captive elephants in Delhi used for entertainment, marriage functions, receptions, tourism and even advertising. These elephants are procured by owners through lawful & unlawful means. The welfare of these elephants is terrible as the weather, environmental and husbandry conditions are unsuitable for these gentle giants of the forest. Working conditions are very harsh & unfriendly, involving several kilometers of walking on hot tarmac and through crowded streets. Most elephants are a picture of sorrow and apathy due to the poor nutrition. Mahouts do not receive any training and use extremely cruel and crude techniques to make the elephants obey them like sticking a metal pin between their nails. Very often young boys between 12 to 16 years of age handle these elephants with carelessness and negligence.
Kartick and Geeta will be trying to raise funds in Australia to run a campaign in India to ensure proper care and treatment for these street elephants. They plan to run an elephant ambulance to treat sick elephants and to work with the owners of the elephants to provide better health care. Humane Society International is accepting tax deductible donations on behalf of Wildlife S.O.S. Donations can be made by ringing free call 1800 333 737 or online at www.hsi.org.au