Wildlife SOS “franchises” dancing bear sanctuaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2007:
AGRA–Wildlife SOS, operating three sanctuaries for dancing
bears, has made a speciality of helping Kalandar dancing bear
exhibitors into other occupations, in exchange for their bears and a
pledge to stay out of promoting animal acts.
Frequently the price of a dancing bear is the training and
start-up capital to enable a Kalandar family to start a small
business, a sharp break from a tradition so ancient that many of the
oldest circus families worldwide–such as the Chipperfields,
performing in Britain since 1683–appear to have Kalandar origins.
“We have seen a change in attitude amongst the Kalandar
people themselves,” says Wildlife SOS cofounder Kartick
Satyanarayan. “Bear poachers in Uttar Pradesh state recently tried
to sell a young cub to a Kalandar community, but the villagers
refused to buy the cub because they knew this would be against the
law. I truly feel there is an end in sight,” Satyanarayn
emphasizes, “and one day the streets of India will be free of
captive bears being tortured for entertainment.”

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