Yamuna Floods Threaten Famed Dancing Bear Rescue Center in India

I just received the following urgent facebook message from my friend Kartick Satyanarayan, Director and Co-Founder of India’s Wildlife SOS at 5:37 PM (Alaska Time), September 1st, 2011:

Kartick Satyanarayan

  • Hey Jordan – Hands full with floods at the Agra Bear Sanctuary. Will be in touch soon. Pls see update on floods on fb and website.”

Named for the goddess diety of the river, the Yamuna river–the largest tributary of the Ganges–is wreaking havoc on the Agra region of India. 

The city of Agra, located in India’s northern state of Utter Pradesh, is home to the famous Taj Mahal and to a facility housing some of the last dancing bears in the world.

The semiarid climate of Agra sports a monsoon season which has generated massive flooding in the area, forcing Agra Bear Center veterinarians and bear keepers to move bears to higher ground.

To Westerners, the Agra Bear Rescue Center may be the most well-known of animal sanctuaries managed by Wildlife SOS–an internationally known animal rescue organization which provides sanctuary and rehabilitation for bears, India’s big cats, Asian elephants and other indigenous wildlife from the region.

Wildlife SOS runs four sanctuaries for sloth bears and Asiatic black bear and was instrumental in removing the last dancing bear from the streets of India. With a mission to conserve sloth bears in the wild and rehabilitate sloth bears in captivity, Wildlife SOS may be the leading charity (non-profit) dedicated to providing a future for the world’s sloth bears for generations to come.

First entertaining emperors some 400 years ago, the sloth bear until recently, was exploited on the streets of  North India by the Kalandars–descendants of wandering Sufi dervishes. The staff from Wildlife SOS helped removed the last of the dancing bears in December of 2009. 

Video of India’s Last Dancing Bear 

As Kartick reported at an international bear conference in July, “Wildlife SOS has rescued 600 performing bears and given a permanent home and lifetime of care to these animals in their rehabilitation centers throughout India.”

To help the Agra bears, please visit the Wildlife SOS website listed above.

Human Journey

Meet the Author
With training in wildlife ecology, conservation medicine and comparative psychology, Dr. Schaul's contributions to Nat Geo Voices have covered a range of environmental and social topics. He draws particular attention to the plight of imperiled species highlighting issues at the juncture or nexus of sorta situ wildlife conservation and applied animal welfare. Sorta situ conservation practices are comprised of scientific management and stewardship of animal populations ex situ (in captivity / 'in human care') and in situ (free-ranging / 'in nature'). He also has a background in behavior management and training of companion animals and captive wildlife, as well as conservation marketing and digital publicity. Jordan has shared interviews with colleagues and public figures, as well as editorial news content. In addition, he has posted narratives describing his own work, which include the following examples: • Restoration of wood bison to the Interior of Alaska while (While Animal Curator at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and courtesy professor at the University of Alaska) • Rehabilitation of orphaned sloth bears exploited for tourists in South Asia (While executive consultant 'in-residence' at the Agra Bear Rescue Center managed by Wildlife SOS) • Censusing small wild cat (e.g. ocelot and margay) populations in the montane cloud forests of Costa Rica for popular publications with 'The Cat Whisperer' Mieshelle Nagelschneider • Evaluating the impact of ecotourism on marine mammal population stability and welfare off the coast of Mexico's Sea of Cortez (With Boston University's marine science program) Jordan was a director on boards of non-profit wildlife conservation organizations serving nations in Africa, North and South America and Southeast Asia. He is also a consultant to a human-wildlife conflict mitigation organization in the Pacific Northwest. Following animal curatorships in Alaska and California, he served as a charter board member of a zoo advocacy and outreach organization and later as its executive director. Jordan was a member of the Communication and Education Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (CEC-IUCN) and the Bear Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (BSG-SSC-IUCN). He has served on the advisory council of the National Wildlife Humane Society and in service to the Bear Taxon Advisory Group of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA Bear TAG). In addition he was an ex officio member of council of the International Association for Bear Research and Management. Contact Email: jordan@jordanschaul.com http://www.facebook.com/jordan.schaul https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordanschaul/ www.jordanschaul.com www.bicoastalreputationmanagement.com