Ending bear baiting
Since 1997, we have worked with local authorities in Pakistan to end bear baiting, which is a brutal and cruel sport in which tethered bears are forced to battle against trained dogs.
In January 2015, with the help of local police, our local partners in Pakistan daringly raided an illegal bear baiting event from which three bears were rescued.
Swift enforcement led to the event being stopped before any violence could occur. The bear owners, along with three of the event organizers, were arrested.
Baited bears rarely live beyond the age of eight, which is less than half their life expectancy in the wild. They often suffer immense pain even before they fight, with their canine teeth broken, muzzles painfully pierced with nose rings and claws often removed. In a single bear baiting event, both bears and dogs are typically made to fight more than once.
The rescued Asiatic male bears are now enjoying their peaceful new life, with all the apples and roti they can eat, in the World Animal Protection-funded Balkasar bear sanctuary in Pakistan. They have joined thirty other rescued bears and are already settling in well.
A crucial part of our success in Pakistan is our alternative livelihood program. We work together with the former bear owners to build new lives away from animal cruelty, ensuring that each bear rescue truly means another step towards ending bear baiting in Pakistan for good.
In 2014, seven former bear owners benefited from the program and are now proud shop owners. In total, almost 50 alternative livelihood packages have been distributed and 42 landlords have pledged to stop hosting bear baiting events.
Thanks to the work of our local partner and the police forces in Pakistan, events like these are now rare. But together with wildlife officials and local partners in Pakistan, we are working to end bear baiting once and for all.