Raju appeared to be dancing to passers-by, but he was actually wriggling in misery as his master jerked the rope back and forth like a sadistic puppeteer.
This was Raju’s and many other sloth bears’ daily lives on India’s streets, where the practice had been practiced for for 400 years.
But Raju remained stranded until Wildlife SOS tracked him down and rescued him in 2009.
He was the last remaining endangered sloth bear in the business, signaling the country’s historic end to the unlawful activity.
Raju, a sixteen-year-old bear rescuer at the Wildlife SOS Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Center, now enjoys the best life imaginable, but his rescuers will never forget the horrific maltreatment he endured.
“The scars on Raju’s scarred muzzle and multiple missing teeth serve as a daily reminder of the cruelty done on hundreds of innocent bear lives, all in the name of the dancing bear practice that was formerly prominent in India,” Wildlife SOS cofounder Geeta Seshamani said in a statement.
“However, despite everything he had gone through in the past, Raju turned out to be a bear of exceptional emotional strength and character.”
Raju, who lives in the sanctuary with hundreds of other bears, is celebrating his ninth year of freedom this year. He spends his days searching for munchies, climbing trees, and lying in the sun, rather than living in misery.
The path here hasn’t been easy, but due to his saviors, Raju has finally found serenity.
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