Chinese delegation visits Agra bear sanctuary
The Agra Bear Sanctuary funded by International Animal Rescue hosted a delegation of senior officials from the People’s Republic of China. The centre, which cares for dancing bears rescued from the streets of India, is managed by our partners Wildlife SOS on land donated by the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department.
The delegates were in Agra as part of their four day visit to India for the first meeting of a Working Group on the India-China Forestry Cooperation Agreement. They were given a guided tour of the sanctuary to meet the rescued sloth bears, followed by a presentation on how India has provided a holistic solution to the centuries-old practice of dancing bears. The delegation was accompanied by senior officers from the Indian Ministry of the Environment and Forests.
The Chinese delegation was particularly interested in the fact that the bears were not being bred in the centre and would enjoy peace and comfort until the end of their lives without being exploited for commercial gain. China currently has a population of nearly 10,000 captive Asiatic Black bears in bile farms where bile is extracted from live bears for the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) industry. Bile is ‘milked’ from the bears through a permanently open wound. The practice has been condemned by animal lovers around the world because of the excruciating pain and suffering it inflicts on the bears.
Vice Minister Mr. Li Yucai expressed his delight at seeing the healthy, contented bears at the centre. Mr Wang Wei, Deputy Director General of Forests, also commented on the extensive care and excellent facilities provided for the rescued bears at the Agra Rescue Facility which is in large part thanks to the generosity of supporters of International Animal Rescue.