The Indian Bear Rescue Program is a pioneering initiative of the Wildlife SOS India, through which approx 650 endangered Indian Sloth Bears have been rescued in India.
Le Passage Travel Foundation is a corporate partner in this initiative of Wildlife SOS at Agra. It regularly donates a fixed amount of earnings towards upkeep and rehabilitation of the Bears at Agra centre.
The Foundation also encourages our guests to visit or volunteer time at this facility and increase the awareness of this project amongst our client base.
The Agra Bear Rescue centre houses about 270 bears, in a semi- controlled jungle habitat within the confines of the Keecham Bird Sanctuary on the outskirts of Agra city. The centre has a dedicated team with caretakers and veterinary doctors, a medical room and facilities for upkeep and welfare of these rescued bears.
The life story of these sloth bears is really heart-rending. The Qalandars (bear owners) would kill the mother bear and capture her 2-3 month old cubs. These cubs were then put through an excruciating regimen of removal of molars, nasal piercing, deprivation and treading on hot coal to train them into the erstwhile famed 'dancing bears' on the streets of India.
Wildlife SOS also runs a program for the rehabilitation of the ex- Qalandars. They have been monetarily compensated or given resettlement opportunities for alternate livelihoods. Their children are being educated and some of them are even employed as helpers in the rescue centre created for the '‘dancing bears'.