India shows China the way to care for bears
China, which breeds bears for profits is impressed by the way India raises bears and have bought a holistic solution to the centuries-old cruel practice of "dancing bears".
A delegation from China visited the bear rescue facility in Agra as part of their India visit and noted that the animals were not being bred for profit unlike in their country.
The Agra Bear Rescue Facility (ABRF) on Thursday hosted the senior level Chinese team headed by Li Yucai, Chinese vice-minister of forests.
The delegates were given a guided tour through the sanctuary to meet rescued Indian sloth bears, which was followed by an interpretive presentation on how India has been able to bring forth a holistic solution to the centuries-old cruel practice of "dancing bears".
The Chinese delegation was particularly interested in the fact that the bears were not being bred further in the centre and were provided a comfortable life, without generating profit for anyone.
China currently has a population of nearly 10,000 captive Asiatic Black bears in bile farms where bile is extracted from live bears for the traditional Chinese medicine industry.
Bile is "milked" from these bears through a wound that is kept continually open. The practice has been condemned by animal rights activists worldwide on the grounds of excruciating cruelty to the bears.
Vice Minister Li Yucai expressed delight at seeing the bears that appeared quite comfortable. Wang Wei, the deputy director general of forests, also observed the extensive care and facilities provided to the bears at the centre.
The delegates were in Agra as part of a four-day visit to India for the first meeting of the Working Group on the India-China Forestry Cooperation Agreement.
The Bear Rescue Centre, a collaborative pilot project between the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and the Delhi-based NGO Wildlife SOS, aims to provide a peaceful sanctuary for bears rescued from the cruel 'dancing bear' trade.
Speaking before the delegation, Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder, Wildlife SOS, explained the challenges of running one of India's most successful and visionary wildlife conservation projects.