Alex the dancing bear suffered years of terrible abuse before we were finally able to rescue him.
A sloth bear captured from the wild as a cub, he was forced to entertain tourists by performing on the streets of India. Crowds would gather to take photos and film the spectacle, as he stood on his hind legs and hopped from one foot to the other. As the cameras clicked, his handler would yank on the rope through Alex’s nose and scream at the terrified animal to make him ‘dance.’
If Alex didn’t respond to his handler’s commands quickly enough, he would be beaten and kicked repeatedly.
So, terrified and traumatised, Alex obeyed him and performed for the crowd – standing up on his hind legs or lying down on the dusty road, waving his paw at the spectators and even having a lit cigarette forced into his mouth as though he was smoking.
Once we rescued Alex and brought him into our sanctuary in Agra, his days of torture were over forever. In the care of our Indian partners Wildlife SOS, his recovery could begin and his wounds start to heal.