Nepal's last known dancing bear finds home in Indian sanctuary
KATHMANDU - AFP
"He reached us late yesterday and we are caring for him and feeding him. He loves honey," said Kartick Satyanarayan from Wildlife SOS, which runs the Agra Bear Rescue Facility in northern India.
"After a quarantine period we will begin his socialization and rehabilitation process."
The pair were transferred to a zoo but the female died just weeks later from what animal activists described as "negligence".
"It is a huge relief that Rangila will now live the life he deserves, free from harm and with all of the proper care he needs," Neil D'Cruze, senior wildlife advisor at World Animal Protection, said in a statement.
Dancing bears are trained as cubs to dance on their hind legs. Their snouts are pierced with a heated rod so they can be controlled by the tug of a rope or chain.
They date back on the Indian subcontinent to the 13th century when trainers, belonging to the Muslim Qalandar tribe, enjoyed royal patronage and performed before the rich and powerful.
Sloth bears, a critically endangered species, are found in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan.
Shrinking habitats and rampant poaching have reduced their numbers, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They can grow up to 1.8 meters tall and weigh up to 140 kilos.