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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

The story of Polly the ex-dancing bear

Polly spent the beginning of her life as a dancing bear. She spent her days enduring a miserable existence, her life completely void of any love or care. 

Instead, physical and mental abuse plagued her every waking moment. 

After her cruel captors shoved a red-hot poker through her nose, a harsh rope was pushed through the holes and then tied. Every single time the rope was tugged, Polly would stand on her hind-legs and shake around in pain. 

Tourists would laugh at the dancing bear in front of them, completely unaware of the physical and psychological pain this poor bear was going through.

When we rescued her, she was in a terrible condition. Weak, malnourished and understandably frightened of humans, she would be seen bobbing her head and pacing around; big indicators of major psychological damage. 

Her infected muzzle was attended to with great care and we made every effort to gradually gain her trust and acceptance.

As time passed, and with YOUR help, Polly started to take her first steps on the road to recovery. She received expert medical care from our partners at WSOS and gained a healthy amount of weight. She was finally receiving adequate nutrition which supported the rest of her development. 

Every single day we were able to watch her grow healthier, happier, and stronger. 


Ten years on, Polly is easily one of the friendliest and most playful bears at the sanctuary. She’s made great friends with fellow sloth bears Brabu and Suraj, who keep her company as they enjoy the wide range of enrichment activities together.

She loves eating seasonal fruits and shoving her fluffy face into bowls of tasty honey porridge. When she’s not gobbling down food, she can be seen climbing trees, licking delicious honey logs and munching on coconuts. 

As you can see from the photos, she looks absolutely amazing. The difference between when we first rescued her and now is like night and day. The pictures truly warm our hearts and we hope it warms yours too.  

If you have donated to our Dancing Bear Rescue project, YOU have made this happen and we are forever thankful to you for helping us give bears like Polly another chance at life.