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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

The traumatising past of Victoria, the ex-dancing bear.

Victoria is a beautiful bear enjoying life at the sanctuary in Agra, India. Behind those big brown eyes is a past full of unimaginable pain and suffering which she experienced as a victim of the dancing bear trade.

In 2013, our partners Wildlife SOS found her in a terrible condition. Her majestic coat of fur had become overgrown, filthy and infested with parasites. On top of this, she was also suffering from a painful, untreated wound on her muzzle, caused by a rope being forced through it by her heartless captors.

This poor bear had also developed mouth ulcerations, which must have been causing her excruciating pain every time she tried to eat.

If Victoria had never been rescued, she would have been smuggled to Nepal and sold into the dancing bear trade. We are thankful our partners were able to rescue her before it was too late, as she truly would have been condemned to a life of misery.

The first few months after her rescue were challenging for Victoria. After her emotionally traumatising past, she was naturally scared of her new environment at the sanctuary. She had been observed continuously swaying her head; a behaviour that is commonly displayed by animals that have previously been kept captive in harsh conditions.

Her infected muzzle was still making it difficult for her to eat any food or rest properly, which only added to the stress.

An intensive treatment program cured Victoria of the terrible parasitic infestation and mouth ulcers, as well as the infected muzzle. She was able to start eating healthy, nutritious food and steadily started gaining weight. In the quarantine unit, she was able to interact with other ex-dancing bears amongst the various enrichment activities available at the centre.

Today, Victoria can often be found cooling off in the swimming pool, which is essential on a hot summers day in India! She enjoys devouring honey, dates, and coconuts, and her favourite summer fruit is a nice juicy watermelon! She is making fantastic progress, and it’s all because of generous supporters that donate towards our dancing bear rescue project. The progress made by Victoria, and many other dancing bears at the sanctuary, has been made possible by YOU.

Thank you to everyone that supports the sanctuary. Our partners at Wildlife SOS, and ourselves are eternally grateful.