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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Glowing reports follow Naturetrek tour

The first ever organised visit to the Agra bear sanctuary by a wildlife tour company took place in February with UK company Naturetrek, and IAR received glowing reports back from those who took part. They visited the Bharatpur bird sanctuary and the Ranthambore National Park, home to some of India’s majestic tigers and - most important of all - the Agra bear sanctuary funded by International Animal Rescue.

Naturetrek provides Britain’s largest selection of professionally-organised natural history holidays. This year, for the first time, they created a bespoke tour to include a day with the bears. Their holidays are renowned for their educational value and this trip was no exception: Kartick Satyanarayan and Vasudha Mehta of Wildlife SOS gave their visitors a unique look behind the scenes at the sanctuary to learn about the specialist care that turns a tortured dancing bear into a happy and boisterous bundle of fur full of energy and mischief. The group gained a special insight into the plight of the sloth bear in India and the project that provides a solution for both animals and people.

The visit to the sanctuary was undoubtedly the highlight of the holiday and a very emotional experience. Teacher Doris Spence, who took school teddy bear Flip with her on the tour, said: "Our trip to see the bears was such a wonderful experience. Kartick and Vasudha were so helpful and obviously devoted to the task of saving the bears from their terrible life of trauma and pain. The work that IAR is doing for everyone out in India must be such an incentive to them all.

"Flip my bear from school really enjoyed himself, and he said meeting the young rescued cubs was the best thing to have happened on his adventures throughout the world!"

One IAR supporter was concerned to see that there was a shortage of space for rearing the cubs at the sanctuary. On finding that it would be possible to build a special cub weaning unit if sufficient funds were available, she pledged to cover the cost. On returning to the UK, she fulfilled her promise by sending a generous donation for the construction and fitting out of the new unit. Everyone involved in the project is extremely grateful to her for her generous support.

The next Naturetrek tour takes place in November and several bookings have already been taken. Anyone interested in going on the tour should contact Naturetrek on 01962 733051 or email [email protected].

Naturetrek generously donates 10% of the income from the tours to IAR’s free the bears campaign.