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Nepal's last known dancing bear finds home in Indian sanctuary

AFP  |  Kathmandu 

Nepal's last known dancing bear has finally found a home in neighbouring India, to the relief of animal activists who feared for his safety after the death of his buddy.

Rangila, a 19-year-old bear rescued from captivity, made the 30-hour journey from to a sanctuary in Agra, officials from Indian animal charity Wildlife SOS said.

"He reached us late yesterday and we are caring for him and feeding him. He loves honey," Kartick Satyanarayan from Wildlife SOS, which runs the Bear Rescue Facility in northern India, said yesterday.

"After a quarantine period we will begin his socialisation and rehabilitation process."

was one of two sloth rescued in southern in December from a pair of itinerant street performers who used the animals for entertainment.

The pair were transferred to a zoo but the female died just weeks later from what animal activists described as "negligence".

Last month, allowed the surviving bear to be transferred after intense lobbying from the and the World Animal Protection group.

"It is a huge relief that will now live the life he deserves, free from harm and with all of the proper care he needs," Neil D'Cruze, at World Animal Protection, said in a statement.

outlawed the practice of performing back in 1973, a year after it was officially banned in But the tradition lingered in parts of Nepal's south.

Dancing are trained as cubs to dance on their hind legs. Their snouts are pierced with a heated rod so they can be controlled by the tug of a rope or chain.

They date back on the Indian subcontinent to the 13th century when trainers, belonging to the Muslim Qalandar tribe, enjoyed royal patronage and performed before the rich and powerful.

Sloth bears, a critically endangered species, are found in India, Nepal, and

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 12 2018. 22:20 IST