The only way that we found out about this wildlife sanctuary is through TripAdvisor, and my unwillingness to accept a pre-canned trip. I am glad we did.
The sanctuary is a little bit out of the way and I wish we would have scheduled more time as they also have a elephant sanctuary in the park – 30 minutes away. If you read through the TripAdvisor reviews, there will be people complaining about some fees such as the “take picture” fee at the entrance to the park. For me, it was worth every penny. These people are doing amazing work and we made a donation on the spot.
It is a rather heartbreaking story. Wildlife SOS started in 1995 with a movement to save the “dancing bears” of India. Ripped from their mothers at an early age their noses are pierced, teeth are broken and they are trained to “dance”. Their owners move from town to town, entertaining the villagers. Through a program of buying back the bears and helping the previous owners find a new livelihood (i.e. become a rickshaw driver), they have slowly eliminated the practice. Very few remain and it is now illegal.
It is truly amazing work they are doing and these bears appear so content in their huge, open sanctuary. The sloth toed bears are beautiful and incredibly serene.
You can see the mark where the ring was initially in place. Now, long gone.
They also rescue other animals – which we did not have the time to see (regrettably). Although we did have a ton of fun playing with their dogs – rescued from the streets of the city, and beyond happy. This fellow was a vixen (smile).
I would highly recommend watching this video to understand the plight of these bears. You can donate here.
Fantastic article, people need to be aware that this has been and still is an issue in some places! Lovely photos.