Rangeela, one of the two rescued sloth bears, stands next to his owner, who grips a chain that runs through the bear's muzzle. For years, Rangeela was forced to dance in front of crowds of people.
Nepal’s Last Known Dancing Bears Rescued
Beaten and trained into submission, the sloth bears have likely been performing for more than a decade.
The longtime tradition of bear dancing, derided for its cruel training methods, is coming to an end in Nepal.
Nepalese law enforcement, with the help of the Jane Goodall Institute Nepal and the London-based nonprofit World Animal Protection, recently removed two sloth bears named Rangeela and Sridevi from their handlers, Mohammad Salman and Mohammad Momtaz, members of the semi-nomadic Nat community that traditionally made a living with street performances.
“Being there in person to help rescue the last known dancing bears in Nepal was surreal,” says Neil D’Cruze, global wildlife adviser at World Animal Protection.
“We know that Rangeela and Sridevi were suffering in captivity since they [were] poached from the wild and their muzzles were pierced with