The Dancing Bears of India

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The Dancing Bears of India.

The Dancing Bears of India are a tragic spectacle, which takes place as a cruel tradition. At the age of three to five weeks, tiny sloth bears are kidnapped and their mothers are killed. They then start the long journey to the Kalander village where they will start their training to become a real dancing bear. A WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) report showed that sixty to seventy percent of the cubs that were taken from the wild died, even before they reached their destination. This was caused from dehydration, starvation and trauma.

If the bears reach the Kalander village, the next ordeal in which the bears go through, is the piercing of their ultra-sensitive muzzle. The bear is held down by a group of men while an iron needle, previously heated in a coal fire, is inserted into the squealing bear cub. No anaesthetic is used for this. A control rope is then shoved into the piercing, which usually gets infected. When the rope attached to the draumatised bear is tugged and a heavy stick is clapped, the bear is motivated to lift its legs and dance.

Before the bear is one year old, its incisor and canine teeth are ripped out and sold as lucky charms. These are usually fairly expensive to buy. As the toothless bear is unable to eat its normal diet, it is limited to lentils and chapatis. This often gives the bears terminal intestinal disorders.

Approximately 1,200 bears in India go through this. The Kalanders earn their income through the bear dancing to music for tourists, for up to twelve hours a day on its tired, hind legs. The tourists throw money at the bear and think of it as great entertainment. This tragic spectacle is actually a tradition which is set back to the 16th century, when bears were forced to dance for the amusement of ruling classes.

There is a law, which was made to stop the capturing and trading of bears in India under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act in 1972. Even thought this has been made illegal. This law barely exists. These bears are still seen along the roads of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. The bears are sold for about 8,000 rupees and the owner earns around 3,000 rupees (which is the equivelant to sixty-six dollars) every month.

The sloth bears normal life expectancy is approximately thirty years in its natural living environment. Sadly, Indias dancing bears barely ever live past the age of eight. Once the bear is captured and tammed, it can never be returned to the wild. The only possible answer for these poor creatures is retirement in a sanctuary. If this horrible form of entertainment continues, this beautiful species will surely become extinct.

What I would like the Indian Government to do is to completely ban the capturing of bears with a strong law enforcement, create a sanctuary for the bears saved from such cruelty and to help the Kalander people find new, useful jobs.

This will be sending the names of those who sign this petition, onto the Indian Environmental Minister to prove that people all over the world, don't like this form of animal cruelty. Please sign my petition and help the bears!