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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dancing Bears

*This post may contain graphical images that may be disturbing. These pictures have not been photoshopped or edited in any way. The stories are based on true stories from the Wildlife : SOS website. Parental guidance is advised. Not for the fainted heart.*
I was watching the Discovery Channel awhile ago, and they aired this program about rescuing animals..I'm not sure the title of the documentary was, but it was a story about these Dancing Bears..I thought it was just going to show a sleuth of bears eating or anything related to their nature..Unfortunately, it wasn' was about these bears that were tortured to dance for was horrific..let's just say i had a big frown on my face after the show..

So, to educate the public with this issue I did a bit of a research..

The Kalandars (India’s traditional dancing bear owners) use the bear shows to support large family groups. The profession is historically passed from father to son, so other opportunities are not often considered.

For more than 400 years, the sloth bear has been a target for human exploitation. Over the centuries, the dancing bear trade transitioned to become entertainment for villagers and tourists who paid for pictures. Many small cubs saw their mother being killed so that poachers could steal them away from her. Through underground trading the bear cubs would end up in the hands of the Kalandars. With no anesthesia a red hot poker would be driven through the muzzle of the bear, often at the age of just six months. A rope would then be pulled through the painful piercing, and left in place, permanently; for many bears a life at the end of a rope would be all they ever knew. Tugging on it remains an effective means of control throughout the bear’s life.

Its claws are ripped out and its teeth broken off with an iron bar to make it easier to control.When the handler jerks the rope upwards, the bear stands on its hind legs to escape the pain. As a cub the bear is also forced to stand on red hot coals and soon learns to hop from one foot to another, making it look as though it is dancing.Years of conditioning allows owners to make adult bears ‘dance’ on command.

Public campaigning against the practice has significantly reduced the number of dancing bears on India’s main tourist trails. But the semi-nomadic Kalandars have taken their shows to more receptive areas.
The capture and keeping of bears is prohibited, yet dancing bear shows find rural audiences. People in these areas, where animal welfare education is rare, are unlikely to report dancing bears to the authorities.
Forestry officials may be prevented from enforcing animal protection laws due to a lack of facilities to house confiscated animals.

Once rescued and taken into one of the sanctuaries, former dancing bears receive specialist veterinary care, enjoy a healthy diet and live with companions in large, forested enclosures. Over time they become healthier and happier. However, the rescued bears can never be returned to the wild because they have not learnt the techniques of survival from their mothers, also the absence of teeth and claws handicap them severely. Last of all they have been imprinted by human beings and have become accustomed to, and reliant on, humans for food. Such bears cannot survive in the wild on their own.

Imagine this was done unto you..

Doesn't the look in his eyes break your heart into pieces?

The metal poker that is driven through the bears' muzzle..ouch!

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