Saturday, June 16, 2012

TED Talk: How we Rescued the "Dancing' Bears

TED Talk: How we Rescued the "Dancing" Bears

Rating: ****- very good

This TED Talk investigates the Kalandar community in India, who are known for training wild bears to "dance", by using inhumain methods. Katrick Satyanarayan talks about what the did to stop them.

They began by placing hidden cameras in various areas of the community. They got video footage that proved the bears were being trained to become "dancing" bears. Now you would think that the process is simple; this is animal cruelty, therefore the only thing to do would be to take the bears into safe captivity. However, what they found is that many bears were a primary or only source of income for the Indian families.

Katrick's plan was to provide the families with a form of sustainable developement other than dancing bears. So, they opened up four bear sanctuaries nearby and employed the former "dance" trainers there. A perfect example is Bitou Kalendey, who was given the opportunity to open a cattle grain store, which he now operates to feed his family. They also funded 600 children for an education, and opened up a veterinary facility to help rehabilitate the bears.

The community of Kalandar is now 100% "dancing" bear free, with 4 fully-functional sanctuaries. I loved this talk because not only did they manage to stop animal cruelty in India, but Katrick and his team provided the families with a better alternative.

Satyanarayan, K. - "How we Rescued the Dancing Bears". TEDIndia, 2009.

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