Every day was a source of grief for Raju the bear.
Raju was forced by his owner to “dance” on the streets of India to collect tips, with a rope connected around his nose controlling his every motion.
Raju appeared to be dancing to passers-by, but he was actually wriggling in misery as his master tugged the rope back and forth like a sadistic puppeteer.
This was Raju’s and many other sloth bears’ daily lives on India’s streets, where the practice had been practiced for over 400 years.
As a result of public outcry, the practice was prohibited in 1972, and animal conservation groups attempted to save the bears one by one, cutting their ropes and putting an end to their suffering.
But Raju remained imprisoned until Wildlife SOS tracked down the bear and rescued him.
He was the last remaining endangered sloth bear in the business, signaling the country’s historic end to the unlawful activity.
Raju, a sixteen-year-old bear rescuer at the Wildlife SOS Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Center, now enjoys the best life imaginable, but his rescuers will never forget the horrible maltreatment he endured.
“The scars on Raju’s deformed muzzle and many missing teeth serve as a continuous reminder of the cruelty done on hundreds of innocent bear lives, all in the name of the dancing bear practice that was formerly widespread in India,” Wildlife SOS cofounder Geeta Seshamani said in a statement. “However, despite everything he had gone through in the past, Raju turned out to be a bear of amazing emotional strength and character.”
Raju, who lives in the sanctuary with hundreds of other bears, is celebrating his ninth year of freedom this year. He spends his days hunting for food, climbing trees, and resting in the sun, rather than living in misery.
The trip here hasn’t been easy, but due to his saviors, Raju has finally found serenity.
Dr. Arun. A. Sha, head of the rescue’s veterinary operations, stated, “Over the years, we have witnessed Raju develop and evolve into a robust and energetic bear.” “From a location where all hope seemed to be gone to this tiny refuge where Raju and hundreds of other bears have found a home and their freedom, it’s been an incredible trip for all of us.”