Nepal's last known 'dancing' sloth bears rescued

Published: Dec 22, 2017, 15:46 IST | PTI | Kathmandu

Two sloth bears -- known as the last dancing bears of Nepal -- were rescued in an overnight operation after police tracked down their owners using their mobile phones. Rangila, 19, male and Sridevi, 17, female

Two sloth bears -- known as the last dancing bears of Nepal -- were rescued in an overnight operation after police tracked down their owners using their mobile phones. Rangila, 19, male and Sridevi, 17, female, were sold to their owner only to be used as dancing bears -- a cruel, outlawed practice, where the animals are made to dance for entertaining crowds, an animal rights body involved in the rescue operation said.

Sloth bear
Sloth bear

On Tuesday, the two bears were rescued by the Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal along with the support from World Animal Protection and the country's police. World Animal Protection, a non-governmental organisation, said they are the last two known Nepali-owned illegal "dancing
bears". "With the help of local police, the bears were found in Iharbari, Nepal via mobile phone tracking of the cruel owners. "The rescue was emotional for all involved, the bears were in an extremely distressed state showing signs of psychological trauma such as cowering, pacing and paw sucking," a statement by World Animal Protection said.

It said the bears are now on their way to be placed in the temporary care of Amlekhgunj Forest and Wildlife Reserve. "Rangira and Sriidvei have suffered for too long in captivity since they were poached from the wild. "It is extremely distressing to see animals being stolen from the wild and the sad reality is there are more wild animals suffering across the world, purely for the entertainment of tourists. "I am pleased that for these two sloth bears at least; a happy ending is finally in sight," said Neil D'Cruze of the World Animal Protection.

Approximately 22,000 Asiatic black bears are stuck in tiny cages, with permanent holes in their stomach and constantly milked for their bile, it said. Their bile and gallbladders are dried, powdered, and sold as panacea to be used as 'traditional medicine', it added. "We are thrilled that the last two known Nepali dancing bears have been rescued from their lifetime of suffering. "After a year of tracking them, using our own intelligence and in cooperation with local police, our hard effort and dedication has helped to bring an end to this illegal tradition in Nepal," the statement quoting Manoj Gautam of Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal said.

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