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17 May 2006 - Name a bear and give it a new life free from suffering       

Name a bear and give it a new life free from suffering

Sydney, 17 May 2006                                                                                                                   

Fifteen rescued ‘dancing’ bears are enjoying their first weeks of freedom at a sanctuary in Bhopal, Central India. The newly created sanctuary is the third established by Wildlife SOS and is thanks in part to the generous contributions of Humane Society International supporters in Australia.

The bears, used to extreme suffering at the hands of their impoverished owners, have had their wounds treated and are now recovering on a daily diet of baked roti, fruit, eggs and porridge with dates and honey. Without the generous support of animal lovers in Australia, the rescue and care of these bears would not be possible.

Now Humane Society International and Wildlife SOS are offering Australians the chance to name one of the fifteen bears for $2000. This is how much it costs to secure the bear’s freedom. The price tag includes the satisfaction of knowing its care will be assured long term.

India’s ‘dancing’ sloth bears are used to entertain tourists for money – dragged around to dance like puppets by a cruel rope through their nose. After being snatched from the wild, the bears have their canine teeth smashed with a metal rod, their muzzle pierced with a red hot needle and are subject to beatings that can leave them blind. Sloth bears are a severely endangered species and their owners often kill their mothers when taking them from the wild.

Wildlife SOS makes it their mission to also help the bears’ owners, the Qalandars, and are very proud that these 15 bears were relinquished voluntarily. The Qalanders will now receive retraining and opportunities to place them into more respectable jobs as part of the Wildlife SOS project.  If the bears were merely confiscated the Qalanders would only seize another bear from the wild. The work of Wildlife SOS ensures an end to this cycle.

The bear sanctuaries are  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.  Already wildlife SOS has rehabilitated 200 bears at their existing two sanctuaries.

Wildlife SOS also receives support from International Animal Rescue UK, One Voice France and Free the Bears Australia.

“Now that Wildlife SOS suddenly has fifteen more bears to care for, and with fifteen more to follow,  they are in desperate need of funds and hoping the Australian public will help”, said Verna Simpson, Director of the Humane Society International. “It costs thousands of dollars to take care of each bear for its lifetime and to help his owner start a new life”. 





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