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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world


Two of the bears enjoying their first taste of freedom

Three dancing bears rescued from wildlife traders at the end of last year have started the New Year by enjoying their first taste of freedom. The bears were rescued on the India-Nepal border by IAR’s partners Wildlife SOS and taken to the Agra Bear Sanctuary, managed by WSOS with financial support from International Animal Rescue. Having completed their time in quarantine and been given a clean bill of health, Bintha, Bobby and Bean now have access to an outdoor enclosure and are adjusting to a life free from fear and pain.

The ropes have been removed from the bears’ noses and the wounds are healing well. Thanks to a nutritious diet of fruit, porridge and honey, they have also begun to put on weight. After spending time together under observation in the socialisation enclosure, the three young bears will be given access to the free-roaming forested area of the rescue centre and will be able to live much like wild bears but within the security and protection of the sanctuary walls.

Alan Knight, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue, was visiting the Agra sanctuary when the bears completed their period in quarantine and watched them venture outside for the first time. “It was a joyful moment,” he said, “two of the bears were eager to come out and explore, while the third was more nervous and remained in his den. They were very playful and looked to be in much better condition now. Sadly their teeth have been damaged so they will need dental surgery at some stage in the future.”

Many dancing bears have their teeth knocked out to make them easier to control. Rescued bears are often found to be suffering from abscesses and infections requiring complex dental surgery to relieve their pain. 

“We’re all delighted that we were able to track these bears down and rescue them,” Alan Knight added. “However, their plight reminds us that the threat of poaching to wild bears in India and across the border in Nepal is still very real. The investigative team run by Wildlife SOS remains vigilant and as we enter the New Year we are more determined than ever to protect wild bears from harm. We will also act immediately to rescue any bears that slip through the net and are taken by poachers.”