Rangila and Sridevi were the last two bears in Nepal who were being forced to dance for spectators by traveling street performers. Last month, they were finally rescued from their captors.

Dancing bears are no longer used in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, India, Serbia, Turkey, and now Nepal, thanks to the concerted efforts of animal welfare organizations.

With the help of local law enforcement officers, the World Animal Protection nonprofit and the Jane Goodall Institute Nepal rescued the two animals from their captors on December 19th. Despite growing up in an abusive environment, the bears were in relatively good health.

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“Being there in person to help rescue the last known dancing bears in Nepal was surreal,” Neil D’Cruze, global wildlife adviser at World Animal Protection, told National Geographic.

Rangila and Sridevi will be kept at a national park until they are ready to be transferred to a wildlife sanctuary for rehabilitation.

Since Nepalese performers have employed dancing bears as a means of income, rescuers temporarily employed two of the bears’ captors to look after the mammals in their new home. Hopefully, this will give them sufficient time to find a new job so they don’t fall back into their old career habits.

If found guilty of keeping bears in the future, however, their punishment will be severe.

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(Photo by Neil D’Cruze / World Animal Protection)