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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Aleem the beautiful ex-dancing bear

Aleem is a beautiful ex-dancing bear living at the bear sanctuary in Agra. These amazing photos make it almost hard to believe his horrific past in captivity, where he was forced to dance for laughing tourists on the side of a dirty and polluted road.

Each and every one of his waking moments was spent in pure agony and it is a miracle he managed to survive for so long. Upon rescue, his physical condition made him look like he was on the brink of death. He was malnourished, extremely thin and with a look of despair in those big, beautiful brown eyes. He had been beaten every single day of his time in captivity, and a coarse rope had been shoved through his muzzle with a hot poker. His cruel owner used to pull on this rope to make him dance. It makes us sick to the stomach to imagine what Aleem and many other bears had to go through on a daily basis. 

When we arrived, he must have thought we were just another group of tourists, there to laugh at him and watch him suffer. Little did he know, his life was about to change forever.

In a joint operation with our partners, Wildlife SOS, Aleem was rescued and taken to the sanctuary. He received expert medical care, which included a new diet to bring his weight up to a normal level.

He soon developed a close bond with fellow bears Ambika and Sultanbi, and together they roam the sanctuary, which has been designed to emulate the bears’ natural environment as closely as possible. They are able to indulge in the many enrichment activities available to them, including a pool and a field with a sprinkler system to help them cool off on the warm days. He can often be seen enjoying hearty portions of honey-laced porridge and nuts, which are his favourite snack!

Every so often, he will cheekily steal nuts and dates from his keeper’s hands, while he is busy stuffing them in the enrichment ball or a braid-feeder.

As far as we’re concerned, he can steal all the nuts, dates and honey he wants! It is the mission of Wildlife SOS and ourselves to provide these bears with the life they deserve, and with your help, we are achieving that.

YOU are the reason why we are able to continue this amazing work, and we cannot thank you enough!