Rescuers Are Worried Nepal's Last-Known Dancing Bear Could Die

According to the rescuers, Rangila was transferred from Nepal’s Parsa National Park to a substandard zoo without their knowledge.

Animals are not entertainers, but people sadly fail to understand this.

Rangila, the last known dancing bear, was rescued from a pair of itinerant street performers in 2017. The pair used to make Rangila and another sloth bear, namely Sridevi, dance for entertainment in the town of Iharbari, Bangladesh.

Rangila, a 19-year-old male and Srivdevi, a 17-year-old female, were trained to perform in front of spectators. Both the sloth bears had to go through painful and cruel training sessions and were forced to entertain spectators, performing inside their cage.

The female bear recently died.

Rescuers were devastated to see the state of the bears. Animal lovers were extremely happy until last year when they thought the bears were rescued.

World Animal Protection and the Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal worked with police to remove the bears from their handlers.

The rescuers wanted to send the bears in a sanctuary in India, however, the animals were found at a the Central Zoo in Jawalakhel, Nepal — the zoo where Sridevi died.

“Discussions with Nepalese and Indian authorities, before and during the bears’ rescue, identified the Wildlife SOS Bear Sanctuary in Agra, India as the best place to provide them with lifetime care. But the bears were sadly not brought to the sanctuary. If they had been, Sridevi might still be alive,” said the World Animal Protection group.

The animals were transferred from Nepal’s Parsa National Park — where they were supposed to stay temporarily — to the zoo, this year in March. The rescuers weren’t aware of this transfer.

The move happened “without our knowledge,” said Neil D’Cruze, a wildlife biologist who works with World Animal Protection.

Rangila is still alive but is living in extremely poor conditions. A zoo representative confirmed the last-known dancing bear is alive but he also acknowledged the bear was under stress. In a video footage, the bear can be seen shaking his head in a really distressing manner.

The bear “is not showing any clinical signs except for some loose stool now and again which may be due to the liquid feed it has been consuming or may be also due to stress,” zoo project manager Chiranjibi Prasad Pokheral told HuffPost in an email. “It has been showing some stereotypical behavior like swaying of the head from side to side and occasionally biting itself.”

According to him, the Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation made the decision of sending the sloth bears to the zoo and it now depends on them to decide if Rangila stays there or not.

Thumbnail?Banner: Reuters, Rupak De Chowdhuri

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