Get to know the bears of Balkasar
Last year, you helped Maya the bear break free. Your support also helped six other bears in Pakistan escape a lifetime of suffering. Hear their stories
Thanks to our supporters, six bears joined Maya in the peace and safety of the Balkasar sanctuary in 2016.
The first was Afshan, an eight-year-old female from Punjab province. Our vets carefully removed her nose ring and, after a few weeks in quarantine, declared her healthy. Afshan is very active and loves to socialise with another female bear, Anjuman.
Raka is seven, and weighs a mighty 141kg. His body is a heartbreaking testament to the abuse he suffered for years in both baiting and dancing: he is blind in one eye and only has eight teeth instead of the usual 42. Since his nose ring was removed, Raka is doing much better.
Raka, pictured recovering in the quarantine area, is one of seven bears you helped transfer to the safety of the Balkasar sanctuary in 2016
Anjuman is 12. She is completely blind after years in the baiting arena, and has mange near her eyes. Despite this, Anjuman is in good spirits at Balkasar. She loves fruit, and has made good friends with Afshan. Her owner is now running a general store.
Rozee, seven, was anaemic when she arrived at the sanctuary, and wouldn’t eat or drink. One day the sanctuary manager splashed water on her with a hose. She liked it and started playing. Since then Rozee has been eating, but only from the manager’s hands.
Jutti, five, was used for dancing and baiting and fed a terrible diet until she was brought to the sanctuary. Her owner was hard to convince. We helped him set up a general store, and he finally agreed to surrender Jutti.
Weighing in at 105kg, seven-year-old Rani was extremely valuable in the baiting arena. Despite constant painful exertion, Rani was fed a completely insufficient diet of bread and milk. After anaemia treatment she is much better and is waiting to be released into the socialisation area.
Ending the cycle of abuse
The only way to make sure bear owners don’t resume their old ways is to give them a different way of making in income. Last year, seven bear owners benefited from our alternative livelihood programme, and they have all signed an agreement saying they will never purchase another bear again.
Thanks to your support, we also secured agreement from the Punjab provincial wildlife department to microchip and register all captive bears in the province – another important step towards the end of bear entertainment for good.