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Rangila: The dancing bear’s happy story is a landmark victory for animal rights

The sloth bear's muzzle is pierced through a pain-inflicting procedure and a rope strung through this piercing to be tugged to make them dance to human will.

OISHIMAYA SEN NAG: For ages, humans have exploited the non-humans for a variety of needs including entertainment. They have encaged animals in zoos to watch them, made them perform unnatural acts to entertain spectators in circuses, trained them for animal joyrides, and even made them dance on the streets for a visual treat. Without a voice and representation in the vote bank, the animals have always surrendered to human whims and fancies. Rangila, a male sloth bear, would have also suffered the same fate if not rescued in time by WildlifeSOS.

In December 2017, two sloth bears, a male and a female, were illegally trafficked to Nepal from India to be exploited as dancing bears in the country. Luckily, enforcement authorities in Nepal seized the bears before they could reach the destined location where they would be sold as dancing bears. But, what actually are dancing bears? For over four centuries, the sloth bear has been used as an entertainment source for people. In the Indian subcontinent, a nomadic tribe called the Kalandars first started the practice of making sloth bears dance…

But behind all these “happy bear dancing shows” there was a dark and cruel secret. The bears used for the purpose were usually obtained as cubs from poachers who would kill their protective mothers in the wild. Once sold, the bear cubs would go through a process whose brutality level cannot be described in words. Their muzzles would be pierced through a pain-inflicting procedure and a rope strung through this piercing to be tugged to make them dance to human will. From then on, the fate of these bears would be hanging on these ropes forever…

Following the rescue of the two sloth bears from traffickers by the Nepalese authorities at the Indo-Nepal border, they were shifted to the Kathmandu Zoo in Nepal for temporary residence. They were named Rangila (male bear) and Sridevi (female bear). Sadly, the joy of rescuing these bears was short-lived when the female bear, Sridevi, succumbed to the trauma and died. Rangila, however, survived and was successfully brought back to his birthplace, India, in 2018. WildlifeSOS collaborated with the Jane Goodall Institute in Nepal to execute this repatriation process. It took months of international negotiation and stressful calibration to achieve victory.

Once in India, Rangila was sent to Wildlife SOS Agra Bear Rescue Facility in India for lifetime care and treatment… On July 11, 2020, 21-year old Rangila celebrated two years of his new-found freedom at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility… He now explores the outdoors without being tied to a rope, plays with honey-laced logs and treat-filled enrichment balls, and naps in mud pits dug up by him.  SOURCE…


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