Nepal’s Last Dancing Bears Have Been Rescued

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Rejoice, animal lovers. The last two known “” in Nepal have been rescued from lives of sadness and pain.

become “dancing bears” after would-be showmen capture or purchase cubs. Those young bears are stolen from their mothers, and from that point forward, they’ll never again live as a wild bear should.

Instead, their captors remove their teeth and shove a hot rod through their noses, piercing it so a chain or rope can be run through the hole. The owners tug on that tether to control the bears throughout their entire lives. Using fear and pain, the captors train the cubs to dance on their hind legs for the enjoyment of paying customers.

Photo credit: World Animal Protection

Using dancing bears for entertainment has been illegal in Nepal since 1973. Nevertheless, the practice continued in more remote areas in southern Nepal until it was slowly eradicated — thanks to the efforts of dedicated animal activists and conservation organizations.

The last Nepali bears were rescued on December 19, 2017. World Animal Protection, in cooperation with the Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal and local Nepali police, tracked the captors of two sloth bears — 19-year-old Rangila and 17-year-old Sridevi — for more than a year.

They proved difficult to find, but modern technology finally foiled Rangila and Sridevi’s captors. Authorities were able to pinpoint their location using mobile phone signals. The captors were making the bears perform in the the Rautahat district near the border with India.

“We are thrilled that the last two known Nepali dancing bears have been rescued from their lifetime of suffering… our hard effort and dedication has helped to bring an end to this illegal tradition in Nepal,” said Manoj Gautam of the Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal.

According to World Animal Protection, when they recovered Rangila and Sridevi, the bears “were extremely distressed and showed signs of psychological trauma such as cowering, pacing and paw sucking.”

It’s not difficult to understand why. No doubt captured as innocent youngsters, they’d spent nearly two decades being treated with cruel abandon by men hoping to make money from their desperate performances. Surely all they wanted was to be left in peace. Instead,the bears felt the constant fear and pressure of having to perform to the satisfaction of their captors.

‘It’s extremely distressing to see animals being stolen from the wild, and the sad reality is there are more wild animals suffering across the world, purely for the entertainment of tourists,” said World Animal Protection wildlife expert Neil D’Cruze. “I am pleased that for these two sloth bears a happy ending is finally in sight.”

Photo credit: World Animal Protection

The only sour note in this happy rescue story is that Mohammad Salman and Mohammad Momtaz, the bears’ captors, got away with nothing more than a “stern warning” from authorities. That’s not much retribution for two decades of torment for these poor bears.

It’s time to look forward, now. Initially, Rangila and Sridevi will spend some time recovering from their ordeal at Nepal’s Parsa National Park. Their rescue brings to a close a sad and shameful tradition that should have died out long ago.

Thanks to the persistence of organizations like World Animal Protection, dancing bears no longer exist in Greece, Turkey, India and now Nepal. Soon,the practice may be eradicated in as well.

Rangila and Sridevi can live the remainder of their lives in the happiness and peace of a sanctuary. For them, that’s the best new year’s gift there could ever be.

This article was first published by on 01 Jan 2018.


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Bonnie Gillis Dugan

Unkind human beings that got away with their cruelty for years. This lets you know that there are many horrible people on our earth with no thoughts for the animals whatsoever.

Rudolf Mühl

uncultured and primitive people

Carol Matney


Gabi Zimpel


Hildegard Walter

Danke den Rettern jetzt können sie ihre Freiheit genießen .Nochmals vielen Dank

Shireen Mckee

Great news !

Juanita Cunningham

About time!

Hilary Morrison

Good work, I’m proud you have rescued these animals. Keep working to rescue animals and educate stupid people to how cruel they are.

Adriana Noemi Antonello

Muchas gracias. Dios los bendiga! !

Dana N Debbie Coburn

Those poor bears I’m so glad that they’re ending this kind of horror and torture on an animal what kind of life can these poor bears have even after rescue how sad

Tim Rogando


Kathy Conn


Mark Sheppard

Good news let’s hope that’s the end of this cruelty.

Jay Mukherji

Thank u for the rescue

Monique Buttle

Thank you for rescuing them! ❤

Deborah Weller

Thank you xx… don’t let these men get more bears ..

Jeanelle Todd Coutelle

I feel so sorry when animals are tortured and abused for human entertainment. Thank God for those that are rescued. Why not drag humans around by their noses with a chain through it and make them dance. Yeah boy would the tables be different then…

Anne Grice
Anne Grice

Thankfully at last