A large brown bear walking through a forest of greenery

Ending Bear Dancing

We helped to end bear dancing in India–an age old tradition cruelly exploiting bears for entertainment; with cubs poached from the wild and trained to ‘dance’ for tourists on the streets of India.

Exploitation for ‘entertainment’


In the past, sloth bears were illegally targeted by poachers in India and taken as cubs from their mothers. If cubs survived the stress and neglect, they were sold to Kalandars, traditional bear owners, to endure a lifetime of physical and mental suffering as dancing bears. All natural behavior suppressed, canine teeth filed down, a painful hole pierced through their muzzle for a controlling rope: bears were forced to perform for the entertainment of tourists.

Bear dancing: moving towards change


In 2005, across 12 states in India, there were at least 346 bears being exploited in bear dancing. In 2012, the Government of India, with the support of World Animal Protection and the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), moved to a National Bear Conservation and Welfare Action Plan, to end the exploitation of bears and keep wild bears in the wild where they belong.